Detroit's longest running techno club is facing eviction and needs your help

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The Works nightclub has been a Detroit staple for more than 20 years. - Courtesy photo
Courtesy photo
The Works nightclub has been a Detroit staple for more than 20 years.

The Works is Detroit's latest victim of gentrification.

The techno club – which has held down 1846 Michigan Ave. for more than two decades – is facing eviction.
On Saturday, Nov. 3, The Works raised the alarm about the nightclub's future by sharing a link to a GoFundMe fundraiser created to raise money to open its new, still-undisclosed location. The Works had a long-running lease agreement with the building's previous owner, but the building sold and the new owner decided not to renew the nightclub's lease.

The Works shared its story on the GoFundMe page:
As with the recent fate of many small businesses in Detroit, The Works is being forced out of their property that they have been renting for 20 years. Our previous landlord sold the building in a very fast deal, giving us a very short notice. The new landlord, will unfortunately not give us a lease. We hate to ask but we need help. We need money to help us move to our new location.
The Works hopes to raise $50,000 to open its new location. The money would go towards installing a sprinkler system, a hood and exhaust system for the kitchen, elevator installation, and to connect the building's water supply.

Another Corktown business owner (who asked to remain anonymous) suggested that the club owners were aware of the original landlord's intent to sell as early as 2015. The business owner also noted that the building that The Works leases out of sold in April. However, Tammy Wilcox-Steelman, owner of The Works disputes those rumors, stating that the building wasn't sold until June and had only been notified a few weeks prior.

Although a new building for a future location for The Works has been purchased, it still has a long way to go.

"We were working slow until we found out the building was sold and was told the landlord was going to work with us until our licenses have been transferred," Wilcox-Steelman states, "We are working as fast and hard as possible to get out of there ASAP."

The departure of The Works from its Corktown location is a sign of the times in Detroit. In recent years, Corktown has received a major facelift as the arrival of trendy new restaurants, the construction of new condos and the purchase of the vacant train station by Ford has signified gentrification's creep from the city's central business district.

Throughout the club's two-decade residence on Michigan Avenue, The Works hosted some of the world's top-billed DJ talent such as Pete Tong, Derrick Carter, Kevin Saunderson, and many more. Apart from throwing weekly parties year-round, each Memorial Day weekend The Works becomes a sought-after afterparty destination for visiting attendees of Movement Music Festival.

To help get The Works back on its feet in a new location, you can donate money on their GoFundMe page.

This story was updated at 8:14 p.m. to include a statement from The Works owner, Tammy Wilcox-Steelman.

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