Detroit Restoration Groups Join Forces to Save Buildings

“Preservation is always a you-win-some, you-lose-some kind of game,” says Amy Swift of Building Hugger.

Building Hugger

Historic preservationists have seen mixed results from Detroit’s revitalization. On one hand, there are new opportunities in the city’s core and neighborhoods to restore homes and buildings. At the same time, these groups must also contend with the urge to tear down historic structures to make way for new development.

And with a Republican in the White House, these groups are also worried about losing federal tax credits that help them restore historic buildings.

Three local historic preservation organizations are partnering this weekend to host Building Hugger’s second annual Community Mingle in Eastern Market this Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.  

Amy Swift, founder of Building Hugger, joins Stephen Henderson on Detroit Today.

“I think for the large developers, they’re always going to look to the balance sheets to drive their decision making,” Swift says. “I don’t think Dan Gilbert looks at things any differentially than Ilitch did, just that the numbers tell them something different now-a-days.” 

Swift hopes to use Saturday’s event as an opportunity to raise awareness for the history tax credit that is currently in jeopardy. She says the historic tax credit has garnered $120 billion in private investment to rehabilitation of 41,000 buildings, and has created 2.3 million jobs. She says it also helps individuals living in the community to have a say in what happens to their neighborhoods.  

Swift discusses various ways people in the community can help to preserve historic buildings, as well as the difference between an up market and a down market.  

Click on the audio player above to hear the full conversation. 


  • Detroit Today
    Dynamic and diverse voices. News, politics, community and the issues that define our region. Hosted by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Stephen Henderson, Detroit Today brings you fresh and perceptive views weekdays at 9 am and 7 pm.