Step inside a drug and prostitution den next to a Cass Corridor playground

This abandoned building in the Cass Corridor is used a prostitution and drug den. All photos by Steve Neavling.
This abandoned building in the Cass Corridor is used a prostitution and drug den. All photos by Steve Neavling.

By Steve Neavling
Motor City Muckraker

Tucked behind a large vacant house in the Cass Corridor is a two-story building that serves as a makeshift prostitution and drug den.

Cass Corridor_4620When it snows, a well-worn path of footprints leads to the building, where people can be seen going in and out at ease. Used needles, handmade crack pipes, condoms and liquor bottles are often strewn across the property and inside the building at Martin Luther King Jr. and Second.

When the weather is warmer, children and their families flock to a park on Brainard Street behind the building to play basketball and have picnics.

The building is adjacent to a low-income housing apartment called the “King Arms Hotel,” which is home to five registered sex offenders, according to the Michigan State Police registry.

The vacant building is owned by Calvin Bruning, according to property records.

Despite the local media’s obsession to rebrand the Cass Corridor as “Midtown,” the area is still riddled with crime. In a three-block area surrounding the drug den, more than three dozen violent crimes have been reported since Jan. 1, according to records from Detroit and Wayne State University police. Those include stabbings, armed robberies, a kidnapping and a shooting.

Here’s a look inside and outside the building:

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Steve Neavling

Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.

  • thaddeusbuttmunchmd

    I wonder how OLD that building is? I’m a Detroit building history Geek. I would have reckoned the King’s Arms would be Gentrified by now. The Niagara, and SO many others have burned or been torn down, including a Victorian Hot sheet Hotel on Cass.

  • bebow

    Calvin’s place is starting to look like a DLBA property.

  • Kenneth Reed

    All of that area is Cass Corridor. Has been, and always will be. Steve pointed it out quite eloquently!!

  • Donald E. Hodge

    Steve, any feed back from Detroit Police or Michigan State Police on this matter?

    • muckraker_steve

      They haven’t said a word.

      • Donald E. Hodge

        they will now!

  • MFS78

    Wow! Yikes! Thanks for this! Although I would have to say that the Cass Corridor is a neighborhood inside Midtown, Midtown actually being much larger, but the narrative tends to disagree with me. Lol

    http://elmoore.com/2015/03/12/the-cass-corridor-in-black-white/

  • Kim Schroeder

    Steve – thanks so much for doing this! Those of us that are active in the community had noted this corner as a problem years ago and are appreciative of your spotlight. We had gotten a problem building next to it torn down a few years ago and apparently they moved in here.

    • muckraker_steve

      Thank you, Kim! Appreciate your support.

    • I have a novel solution for this issue.

      http://bfy.tw/4KaO

      • muckraker_steve

        If that place catches fire, all of the residents in the adjacent building would be endangered.

        • You know what they say about omelettes and eggs, right?

          • Clifford Forester

            That is not funny in the slightest…

          • Clifford Forester

            That is not funny in the slightest…

          • I don’t think Lenin thought it was funny, either.

      • Donald E. Hodge

        Detroit Fire arson squad states that 90 percent of fires in the city are arson. Don’t even kid about that Brother. Some dope might think that is ok.

  • Nick W

    Why you blowing up spots brah?

    • muckraker_steve

      Because it’s across the street from a playground. The safety of children matters to me.

      • Donald E. Hodge

        Perhaps Nick W can bring this three little darlings down here and have a picnic?

        • muckraker_steve

          Yea, the no-snitch culture seems more important than the safety of children. Here’s a needle I found on a sidewalk next to the drug den this morning. My dogs nearly stepped on it. Someone will eventually be poked.

          • javierjuanmanuel

            But with out that, how can don show how gritty, and real he is to his childhood friends from the burbs ?

            He wants performance art despair at a comfortable distance from him, not to impact him, but to emotionally impact people he wants to shock/impress.

          • Donald E. Hodge

            I knew that Mr. Bigot would not disappoint? what took you so long to come back this time? running low on Hate books? I am almost positive some ass wipe will write a new one soon. just hang in there.

          • javierjuanmanuel

            But with out that, how can don show how gritty, and real he is to his childhood friends from the burbs ?

            He wants performance art despair at a comfortable distance from him, not to impact him, but to emotionally impact people he wants to shock/impress.

        • I think you and @muckraker_steve:disqus need to take your sarcasm detectors into the shop, because it appears to be broken.

          • Donald E. Hodge

            What are you with Detroit city council? I have to be Sarcastic because I want the city that i grew up in, and love to be safe. just do us a favor and stay in Novi where everything is plastic, white and extremely dull. Did you even read the article? Just go away.

          • Hey Don, thanks for your suggestion that I stay in “Novi,” but I am not sure where that is. From your description, I am sure the proles who live there find it to be very beautiful.

            I, too, would like Detroit proper to be safer and more prosperous, for similar reasons to yours. So, it would appear we have something in common. I find this, of course, to be shocking.

            It’s been a unique experience having someone of your “caliber” question my reading comprehension skills. However, I believe you misunderstood my previous comment. I was referring the sarcasm part of my comments to @nickdoubleyou:disqus comment. Or, to put it in simpler terms, I believe you missed the fact that Nick W was being sarcastic.

            Thanks for lashing out blindly with anger and vitriol.

          • Donald E. Hodge

            If that is truly your stance then I stand corrected. your comment is duly noted,sorry bad day thank you for helping me pull my head out of my ass.

          • No worries, man. We’ve all been there. If you can’t get a bad day out on the internet, why go on it?

          • javierjuanmanuel

            He wants it NOT to proper so he can act like he is snake in escape from NY. He is way more hard than anyone her can fathom.

          • It really was a great movie, though…

          • Donald E. Hodge

            Hard enough to sit in a folding chair enjoying a BK Whopper while you hang yourself with piano wire.

          • javierjuanmanuel

            He wants it NOT to proper so he can act like he is snake in escape from NY. He is way more hard than anyone her can fathom.

          • javierjuanmanuel

            Its not real unless it has allot of negatives ?

            Please explain how and why.

            You sound like a punk kid that has seen to many movies about NYC, and LA.

            Do you really want to experience the negatives? I know you do not, you want to talk about going NEAR them.

            My neighbor is in a gang (I work in IT).

            There was a fire bombing around the way (I live in a 400k condo). I am so gangsta (I have a arts degree from a 60k per year private school in rural NY)

            I ride the bus ( I leave my free car my doctor father bought me at my grandparents home on the lake, they are in florida 6 months a year, its practically my second home, not theirs)

            Grafitti is cool, its art ! (On other peoples buildings, I never invite a graffiti artist to come paint every surface of my 400k condo on the inside, that would cost me money, as it is really NOT beautiful. I just like talking down to dentists who live in birmingham.

          • Donald E. Hodge

            How am I the punk kid? Your the racist asshole that shows up time after time at this newspaper and vomits up any And every negative idea about how the city of Detroit and it’s people deserve all bad shit that has happened here in the last forty years. Trust me on this, if you died tomorrow nobody would care.

          • javierjuanmanuel

            Its not real unless it has allot of negatives ?

            Please explain how and why.

            You sound like a punk kid that has seen to many movies about NYC, and LA.

            Do you really want to experience the negatives? I know you do not, you want to talk about going NEAR them.

            My neighbor is in a gang (I work in IT).

            There was a fire bombing around the way (I live in a 400k condo). I am so gangsta (I have a arts degree from a 60k per year private school in rural NY)

            I ride the bus ( I leave my free car my doctor father bought me at my grandparents home on the lake, they are in florida 6 months a year, its practically my second home, not theirs)

            Grafitti is cool, its art ! (On other peoples buildings, I never invite a graffiti artist to come paint every surface of my 400k condo on the inside, that would cost me money, as it is really NOT beautiful. I just like talking down to dentists who live in birmingham.

      • Samuel Sneed

        What matters to the police is who is doing drugs and tricking in that location. They will chase them out soon, well even sooner now then they planned. The police are all over John R and Michigan Ave, setting up stings and watching. That is because they can impound vehicles. In the corridor it’s transients and dope dealers usually on foot going into those buildings. Not much to seize or impound there

        • jdlapko

          I would love to have Michigan Ave between Wyoming and Livernois cleaned up

          • javierjuanmanuel

            There is almost no part of detroit that does not need a good ten year of people and the city cleaning up. The nicest areas have shitty alleys, back yards full of crap, garages leaning, flaking paint etc.

            The bad areas make you wonder if you should even try.

          • javierjuanmanuel

            There is almost no part of detroit that does not need a good ten year of people and the city cleaning up. The nicest areas have shitty alleys, back yards full of crap, garages leaning, flaking paint etc.

            The bad areas make you wonder if you should even try.

        • jdlapko

          I would love to have Michigan Ave between Wyoming and Livernois cleaned up

        • drbpor

          Remember Comrades, it’s all about public $afety !!

        • javierjuanmanuel

          they do like busting kind looking small kids, and people with nice cars, etc.

          Its the same reason the cops and police all know where the nastiest drug dens are, and they do not go there every day and kick ass and arrest everyone.

          They all have families, they do not want to get shot, they do not want to fight a 6’4 280 lb black dude with a terrible attitude that is all coked up.

          They do like arresting 16 year old white boys that weight 140 lbs and do not even argue with them.

          • Samuel Sneed

            if he has enough money they will take him down, in a cash strapped city it’s all about assets

      • Guy Cason

        Yeah what ever you a lame ass white dude talking shit because you don’t give a fuck about them kid’s just reporting bull shit

        • shavers313

          You’re a disgrace to my race. smh

          • To the human race, is what I am sure you meant.

            I’ve seen a lot of your comments shavers, and while I don’t agree with them all, you do your own thinking and I can respect that. So, I am very confident when I say that the only thing you have in common with the gentleman above is the color of your skin.

            I don’t look at some white school shooter and say you’re a discredit to our race, because I have nothing in common with them. Sure, it’s a little pollyanna on my part to hope people are as “colorblind,” but if you don’t see yourself differently, who will?

            It’s my hope that other people don’t immediately associate you with someone like that solely because of your skin. So, please keep my hope alive by not doing it for them.

            I am all for open discussions about race, ethnicity, and religion, but I hope one day they will all be informed and supported discussions. Yes, I am wishing for a lot, but I have a surprising amount of faith in Americans.

            Sorry for getting all sentimental. I will go back to spewing my regular vitriolic rage-filled rants. Hopefully, you’ll find it more entertaining.

          • javierjuanmanuel

            because even school shooters are not low enough to play the race card.

        • Donald E. Hodge

          Good luck in prison.

        • javierjuanmanuel

          I am pretty sure he is jewish, but what if he only cares because of the white kids that go to that park, it still ends up clean for the black kids, you know, the only ones you care about.

        • javierjuanmanuel

          steve reports on all sort of stuff that no one else really gives much attention. You know like in the blackest, more poor, most neglected areas.

          The areas even the black leaders with pan african leanings do not really care about.

          What have your city council members done with african names, and the bro with the dashiki ?

          Is he down there yelling at drug dealers, getting his hands dirty, mowing fields with the white guys from the burbs in the mower gang.

          Nah he is getting driven home by a cop, and staying in his house.

      • Clifford Forester

        I lived for two years in the apartments across the street
        Never knew there was a whore house there…

      • Clifford Forester

        I lived for two years in the apartments across the street
        Never knew there was a whore house there…

  • Dongald Trumpenis

    Jesse Pinkman approved.