Update: House was demolished Friday.
The owner of the popular Bucharest Grill restaurant chain allowed two of his vacant buildings in the Cass Corridor to become dangerous, crumbling eyesores that served as makeshift dens for drug addicts and prostitutes.
Used condoms, broken glass and dozens of exposed needles were strewn across the property at Martin Luther King Jr. and Second. The once-beautiful house is shedding bricks, and the roof in the rear collapsed where trespassers routinely gained access. A man who had overdosed on heroin was recently found behind the building in the rear.
Motor City Muckraker alerted the city to the dangerous property, which is near a playground, and a few days later, Mayor Duggan’s administration slapped the owner, Bogdan Tarasov, with a $1,250 fine for failing to maintain a vacant building, failing to register a vacant building and failing to obtain a certificate of compliance. Duggan’s administration also ordered Tarasov to immediately clean up the property
A few days later, Tarasov boarded up the buildings and erected a fence around them. The properties are next door to a low-income apartment, King Arms Hotel.
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After years of neglect, the house was deemed unsafe and may be torn down as early as Friday.
Tarasov, who is planning to open a fourth Bucharest Grill in Detroit, didn’t return calls for comment.
The history of the house is murky because the address has changed at least four times in the past century.
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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.