Wurlitzer still crumbling, but Mayor Duggan helps coffee shop with water

Photos by Steve Neavling
Photos by Steve Neavling

A downtown Detroit coffee shop and community theater will soon have water that is not coming from a rigged fire hydrant.

After depending on the hydrant for three months, 1515 Broadway is about to get water the regular way – from a water line. Crews on Monday began installing the line after they were unable to inspect problems with the former water source because the adjacent Wurlitzer high-rise is shedding bricks and masonry.

Wurlitzer building
Wurlitzer building

Mayor Mike Duggan’s administration took the owners to court recently to order them to remove dangling portions of the exterior. The owners are Wayne County Circuit Judge Daphne Mean Curtis and her husband Paul Curtis, who have defied orders to remove the dangers for more than three years. Wayne County Judge Robert Colombo, who has done little to enforce the order, finally demanded that the Curtises take action.

Work was supposed to start nearly two weeks ago but not a single brick has been removed.

Mayor Duggan didn’t want to wait any longer and urged the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department to build a new line before the winter settles in and freezes the hose connected to the fire hydrant. The city was already in the midst of replacing the aging, brittle lines.

The Curtises owe more than $20,000 in delinquent taxes.


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.

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