See our Best of Detroit 2020 winners.

One more round? 

Considering derelict structures of Detroit, Geoff Dyer, author of Yoga for People Who Can’t Be Bothered to Do It, wrote, “even though these buildings have been abandoned, even though they were no longer fit for business, habitation, or anything else, still they did not physically collapse. Until they’re laid low by dynamite or wrecking balls they’ll eke out some type of existence. When all else fails they’ll continue — for the lack of anything better — to stand their ground, to box their corner.”

Considering that, ASS is of the opinion that the former apartment complex at 71 Garfield (one block north of Canfield on the east side of Woodward Avenue) appears to be nowhere near throwing in the towel.

Two years abandoned and boasting residency in a newly declared historic district (called the Sugar Hill district), this edifice might just currently be catching its breath. Understandable, as previous decades have been exhausting.

Paul Vital, landlord of a neighboring residence, attests to a lively neighborhood past in the 1940s and 1950s.

“You could go dancing at 8 a.m. — it was that cookin’,” Vital says.

Purchased from former owners in 2002, the building is now in the possession of The Garfield Development Group. The group consists of Ernest Zachary, president of development consulting company Zachary and Associates, Inc., the Jonah Companies, the Cathedral Church of St. Paul, and one last “silent” partner. They hope to renovate not only this building but also many others in the area.

Pending renovation, however, one word of caution if you are ever overcome with an irresistible desire to steal a glimpse at this sleeping beauty. Until the prince of project financing bestows the kiss of redevelopment funding, the building will be in the constant supervision of rotating security guards.

With these guys in the ring, that makes for one big, boxed corner.

Editor’s note: If you know of an abandoned home you would like to see featured in this spot, send a photo and pertinent information to News Hits, c/o Metro Times, 733 St. Antoine, Detroit, MI 48226 (or e-mail

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