Efforts are now underway to tear down Shapero Hall — the former home of Wayne State University’s pharmacy program. A ceremonial brick-breaking of sorts was held Thursday morning, following the announcement of a new housing project in Detroit’s Lafayette Park neighborhood.
The eight-story building has sat vacant for more than a decade. Officials say demolition work will conclude in the first half of 2019, at which point the focus will shift towards building Lafayette West.
The development will see lofts, townhouses, high-rises units, and studio apartments built. The project will occupy 5.2 acres of land between I-375 and Rivard Street. It will include rental and for-sale units, as well as options for affordable housing.
Michigan-based Ginosko Development Company will spear-head the project. More than 370 new housing units will be created in total, but Ginosko CEO Amin Irving doesn’t view it as a revitalization effort.
“Honestly, I think Lafayette Park has always been the place to be,” says Irving. “This has always been a tight-knit community with very engaged residents.”
In order for the project to received a green light, it had to clear Detroit’s “Community Benefit Ordinance” process, which ensures that developers engage with the community their project affects. The Neighborhood Advisory Council (NAC) approved the Lafayette West development by unanimous vote with one meeting to spare.
NAC member Matthew Morin spoke at the announcement. He says he’s lived in Lafayette Park for 18 years.
“But what’s amazing is that I live in a building with six people,” says Morin, “and three of them have lived there longer than me. So this is a neighborhood that attracts people and keeps them.”
When it’s all said and done, officials say Layfayette West will cost about $108 million. They say the goal is to finish construction on the development by the end of 2020.