Vacant Cass Corridor building demolished to make way for condos, high-end restaurant

This apartment building at 438 Selden was demolished Monday. All photos by Steve Neavling.
This apartment building at 438 Selden was demolished Monday. All photos by Steve Neavling.

By Steve Neavling
Motor City Muckraker

The long-abandoned Marie Apartments in the Cass Corridor was demolished Monday to make way for condos, a high-end restaurant and an office for the developer.

The three-story, 92-year-old brick building, which was on the same block as Honest John’s on Selden, came down to cheers from neighbors who complained about the city-owned apartment for more than a decade. The roof and some of the floors had collapsed, and the facade was crumbling.

Cass Corridor 438 Selden
This three-story apartment building at 438 Selden was demolished to make way for condos. Photos by Steve Neavling.

In December, the city sold the property to Detroit-based Ferlito Group LLC for $19,700. As part of the development agreement, Ferlito Group has two years to construct the new building.

The $4 million plan calls for a dozen for-sale condos, a high-end restaurant and an office for Ferlito Group inside a modern, 22,000-square-foot building.

The price tag on the condos has not been determined, but each unit is expected to have two bedrooms and two bathrooms.

Two raccoons scramble after a third fell from the third floor.
Two raccoons scramble after a third fell from the third floor.

As a crew demolished the brick building Monday, a family of raccoons scurried to the roof. But demolition never stopped, and the raccoons plummeted from the third floor. Two died, and another limped away.

The redevelopment project is just the latest underway in the Cass Corridor, which is undergoing rapid change. Rents are rising, and lower-income people are being displaced by higher-income people.

Just a block from the demolished building is the Selden Standard, a high-end restaurant that opened in a building that had been abandoned and covered in graffiti. It was named restaurant of the year by Hour Detroit and the Free Press. 

Here are 50 Cass Corridor buildings whose fates could be determined this year.

A rendering of the new building.
A rendering of the new building.
selden demo
A raccoon dangles from the building.

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Selden demo_4385

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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.

  • MFS78

    On a more positive note, the company deconstructed part of the building and 30,000 of the circa 1919 bricks will remain in the neighborhood and go to build the retail space across from Will Leather at 2nd and Alexandrine. The construction on that site will reflect turn of the last century architecture complete with ornamental brickwork. The Marie apartments could not be saved. It was far beyond rehab. Its sad about the racoons. Sure it would be nice if they’d saved them. Does it make me a bad person for not losing sleep over it???

  • MFS78

    On a more positive note, the company deconstructed part of the building and 30,000 of the circa 1919 bricks will remain in the neighborhood and go to build the retail space across from Will Leather at 2nd and Alexandrine. The construction on that site will reflect turn of the last century architecture complete with ornamental brickwork. The Marie apartments could not be saved. It was far beyond rehab. Its sad about the racoons. Sure it would be nice if they’d saved them. Does it make me a bad person for not losing sleep over it???

  • bizmarkie

    a 4 story building where all floors and roof was collapsed and you expected people to go in and get racoons out? people are saying save them weeks before, and how did anyone know weeks before they were in there? yes lets stop the demo to send guys up in a lift of a building thats ready to collapse and working next to power lines to save a rabie ridden roddent, and put workers in danger? makes no sense to me. we should be more appreciative of the demo workers and what they are doing in the city.

    • Donald E. Hodge

      Yeah, we should appreciate how rich there getting off City contracts. we can`t expect some dumb Redneck asshole to care about poor small animals that get in the way of his wallet and NASCAR stats.

  • Julién Godman

    #RIPraccoonfamily 🙁
    That new building is half-way decent and we do need new construction in this city but that old building looked like it could have been restored and had a lot of character!

  • Antman573

    I find it amusing that people complain about not saving “old” buildings AFTER someone decided to move forward with much needed construction and development. Where were the preservationist prior to this when the building sat idle and crumbling for decades?

  • sachiko

    I have to say i hate your one dimensional, lifeless “story telling.” Every so often I begin to read a story and then find myself asking “is it that guy again?” And each time, it is . . .

    • Donna

      His articles are interesting to those of us from that area

      • sachiko

        i don’t like his angle of many of his stories, his politics seem to seep in to his so called “investigative journalism” and it is usually slanted and feels like someone without historical context for the stories about which he writes, not that that is necessary, but it’s often telling. He did a story on Tyree Guyon a while back that I didn’t appreciate. Some people have their favorite writers and columnists, for me, he isn’t one of them. Wouldn’t matter if i, meaning me, lived in that area of not. its more of a writing sensibility

  • Jamie Kornosky

    Everyone should go ahead and leave a bad review for this terrible company.

  • Jamie Kornosky

    Everyone should go ahead and leave a bad review for this terrible company.

  • maggiemay

    The only thing disturbing about this is the raccoons. Who was the demolition company?

    • Donald E. Hodge

      Assholes Inc.

  • javierjuanmanuel

    I do not know why no one is making new buildings that look old. Its not difficult.

    The only two choices are not new for the sake of being new, kinds weird look, or pouring millions into a falling over old shack that is really just bricks.

    You can buy new bricks that look old, or reclaimed bricks, and easily use old design elements, in a new steel building, with nice insulation, no lead, no asbestos, with an elevator and handicap access etc.

    Why is no one doing this.

    • muckraker_steve

      Great question. All of the new apartments look the same.

    • muckraker_steve

      Great question. All of the new apartments look the same.

    • maggiemay

      My feeling exactly. Build something classic that won’t look dated in 30 years like half the buildings in Southfield.

    • maggiemay

      My feeling exactly. Build something classic that won’t look dated in 30 years like half the buildings in Southfield.

  • Hart Noecker

    Just when you think that couldn’t have gotten any more sad.

  • Harry Palmer

    Too bad it wasn’t saved. That’s a pretty ugly building going in it’s place…

    • Jamie Kornosky

      The modern look is strange… looks like an office or something. I think the brick castle was much more beautiful.

    • javierjuanmanuel

      there is nothing worth saving in most of the old buildings once the inside is compromised.

      The inside is the hard to replicate stuff, old growth wood, all the brass and copper stuff is stripped, old cast iron stuff, hand carvings, fancy plaster etc.

      Other than you getting to boss other people around, what do you get out of an old building that the guts are all rotted out, it will just be drywall and cheap builder grade BS, at 4-5 times the cost it should be.

      • sachiko

        So i take it you did a walk through . . .?

  • Jamie Kornosky

    Was the raccoon saved? :'(

    • Clifford Forester

      That is the only thing here I care about. How could they kill those raccoons?

      • Jamie Kornosky

        Those poor little guys. Did you see the picture of the castle being bulldozed while the poor raccoon was holding on to the side of the building? 🙁

        • Clifford Forester

          No way and I don’t want to!

        • javierjuanmanuel

          That tail is not puffy enough. I think thst is an opossum. If course if you saw it in person, you would know. Pic looks like a really fat opossum

          • Donald E. Hodge

            you know, you are right. that is something I would have come down there myself and done for nothing. I have live traps that could have been used and than let them go in Elisa Howell park. That was Bull Shit.

          • bizmarkie

            hey don, thats not the only vacant building in detroit. are you down there live trapping any other buildings? if you had time to go trap these ones, whats stopping you from doing other buildings?

          • Donald E. Hodge

            Not a thing. I think you would be shocked if you really knew how much money a month I spend caring for Deer, raccoons , Ducks ,Canadian geese and so on. And what do you do to make a difference ?

          • bizmarkie

            ok then, head on downtown and go trap vaccant buildings. you said you would have on this one. talk is cheap, don. people are tired of blight, but then people dont want it tore down. no one is ever happy. youre more worried about raccoons then the fact that the urban decay is swallowing the city. why even tear anything down? they should just leave it, right? let the junkies, bums, and criminals occupy it. that seems like a better idea.

          • Donald E. Hodge

            Talk is cheap? what the hell are you talking about. I do this shit all the time. so what saying is I should only do it in old broken down Buildings. Which someone happens to own and will wonder why I am on their property. I never said the buildings shouldn`t be torn down they should be, but getting arrested for being say a copper thief is not my idea of a good day in Detroit.

          • Donald E. Hodge

            so again, what do you do for a living other than judge me?

          • bizmarkie

            my occupation is not relevant to the conversation.

          • Donald E. Hodge

            Oh, sure it is. You seem to know what it is I should do with my time, and also where in Detroit I should be doing it. So if you don`t work at all just say that.

          • bizmarkie

            youre the one that said you would go trap them. all i said was why just this one building? since you seem to be the raccoon whisperer, head down and do it to all the other vaccant buildings. want me to drive down gratiot and give you a list of addresses?

          • Donald E. Hodge

            So now I am The Raccoon master, Well give a call on Saturday and let me know what I should be then to so I can get that right too. Maybe if you and Jesus will put that list together I`ll see what I can do to clean up your end of Gratiot.

          • bizmarkie

            HALLELUJAH!!!!

          • Donald E. Hodge

            of course then again we could have the Bums, Junkies and criminals come by your house for a bit. they need somewhere to go. you and Jesus can remind them of what losers they are and then he can turn them all into stock brokers.

          • Donald E. Hodge

            so again, what do you do for a living other than judge me?

          • banmar

            Sadly, trash pandas are considered disease-spreading vermin and are a low priority for removal from a building facing imminent demolition. I’m surprised that a construction worker didn’t attempt to end the raccoons’ misery by planting a hot one in each of their brains. It would have possibly more humane than two dying from the fall and a third injured and not captured for treatment. I guess humane treatment wasn’t included in Ilitch’s timeline.

          • banmar

            Sadly, trash pandas are considered disease-spreading vermin and are a low priority for removal from a building facing imminent demolition. I’m surprised that a construction worker didn’t attempt to end the raccoons’ misery by planting a hot one in each of their brains. It would have possibly more humane than two dying from the fall and a third injured and not captured for treatment. I guess humane treatment wasn’t included in Ilitch’s timeline.

        • muckraker_steve

          It was very sad to watch. I asked one of the workers if he could chase them away, and he said no. It was heartbreaking watching them fall. Two died. One got away but was seriously injured. Although they are pesky, they are cute.

          • Harry Palmer

            what happened to those raccoons are kind of symbolic of what’s happening to some of the long time residents of the city.

          • javierjuanmanuel

            No. People living on aid in free houses, will get to live in a different house, also free a couple miles away. No one is throwing them off bridges, off roofs etc.

            They just hand over free money to a different landlord.

          • javierjuanmanuel

            I do not think they understand house demo, even though they are super clever animals and even use tools, one of the great signs of animal intelligence.

            I think their instincts are hide, or attack.

            a bunch of stuff from hardware store like powder pest pellets have worked well for me, and the old stand buy moth balls.

            Buy a big ol box of moth balls pour them all over the place a week before and they take off.

            Even catching them in a wire trap, and taking them to the woods and putting a 22 in their head is more humane than having them half bleed out on a floor for 20 minutes or fall 25 ft and land on their head etc.

          • javierjuanmanuel

            I do not think they understand house demo, even though they are super clever animals and even use tools, one of the great signs of animal intelligence.

            I think their instincts are hide, or attack.

            a bunch of stuff from hardware store like powder pest pellets have worked well for me, and the old stand buy moth balls.

            Buy a big ol box of moth balls pour them all over the place a week before and they take off.

            Even catching them in a wire trap, and taking them to the woods and putting a 22 in their head is more humane than having them half bleed out on a floor for 20 minutes or fall 25 ft and land on their head etc.

          • Donna

            He could have chased them away. It would have taken a few minutes. sickening

          • Donald E. Hodge

            Its not as if her husband owns the demo company or anything like that Donna. Have a good day

          • Whitepine63

            I’m not sure what you mean Donald? I’m not married

          • Whitepine63

            I’m Donna

          • Donald E. Hodge

            You have two different posting faces?

          • Whitepine63

            One is signing in through fb and one is discus. Do I know you? Why the snarkiness? About whether I’m married and I have never been married to a demo man

          • Whitepine63

            My X husband would have saved that building

          • Donald E. Hodge

            It was a joke,and the joke was not about you.

          • Donald E. Hodge

            What a Huge surprise that is..

        • muckraker_steve

          It was very sad to watch. I asked one of the workers if he could chase them away, and he said no. It was heartbreaking watching them fall. Two died. One got away but was seriously injured. Although they are pesky, they are cute.