Detroit Sides with Anarchists Over Developer in Land Bid

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A self-described ‘anarchist housing collective’ where members live a communal life sharing expenses as they occasionally host live music shows has successfully outbid a land developer trying to buy lots next door for new apartments.

The anarchist group, known as Trumbullplex, owns a pair of Victorian-era houses and a performance space at 4210 Trumbull in the Woodbridge neighborhood, next to the lots. For decades, the group has used one of the city-owned parcels as a gathering spot with greenery, fruit trees, a fire pit and parking for a painted blue school bus. City officials made a tentative decision this week to sell the two side-by-side lots on Trumbull Street in the Woodbridge neighborhood to the collective for $10,000, turning down an equally priced offer from the developer…The city on Tuesday chose Trumbullplex’s equal bid over developer Alex Pereira because it was deemed more important for the community to keep the lots as is. Pereira wants to construct a building on the lots featuring three to six housing units, ground-floor commercial space and an architectural style in keeping with the area’s historical character.

‘I’m interested in developing on the site to bring additional, much sorely needed housing to the neighborhood,’ said Pereira, who has done several housing restoration projects in Woodbridge, including a colorful Dr. Seuss-themed house commonly called’the Lorax house.’

Pereira, who lives in Woodbridge, said he didn’t approach Trumbullplex’s members with his plans before going to the city, a point that rankled many in the collective. The group learned of Pereira’s land bid last week through the city, which allowed the group to counter offer.

The second of the two lots is next to another Victorian-era home whose private owner keeps the lot mowed and is friendly with Trumbullplex. She, too, opposes the developer’s plans.

‘We’re mad as hell with him,’ said Saneetha Satterwhite, the 68-year-old homeowner.

The land dispute erupted on Facebook early this week when Trumbullplex published an open letter on its page. The letter demanded that Pereira ‘stand down’ and said, ‘There are plenty of other available properties you don’t need to snatch out from under your neighbors.’

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