Detroit has endured decades of bad press, questionable reputations, and let’s face it, troublesome housing situations. Nearly a decade ago, when Icarus CEO David Pezzola drove through Detroit, he was shocked, and inspired, by what he saw.
“Outsiders like to give opinions about Detroit, and they’re wrong,” says Pezzola, who spotted similarities between Detroit’s rebirth and that of his hometown of Oakland, Calif. “I love being involved with cities or neighborhoods that people don’t believe have potential. Detroit has the random hipster vibe of Brooklyn and Oakland, and it’s cool to be a part of its rebirth. Coming from Oakland, where you now can barely find a house for less than $1 million, I know this is where Detroit is heading.”
In 2018, Icarus partnered with IPS Realty in Detroit to purchase 80 units in Detroit’s North End, Russell Woods, Grandmont Rosedale and Warrendale neighborhoods. The units are primarily single-family and multi-family residences.
Since Detroit’s 2013 bankruptcy filing, the city has rebounded quickly, earning the nickname “America’s Comeback City.” The unemployment rate dropped to 5.3% in 2016 (from an all-time high of 19%) and the poverty rate fell to 13.4%, one point below the national average. Rebirth is happening quicker than anyone could have predicted. Millennials and empty-nesters are choosing to live downtown, and the Midtown neighborhood alone added 150 new businesses and 1,500 new residents in the past six years.
In 2014, an estimated 30 percent of Detroit’s residential buildings were vacant or partially occupied. Today, HUD numbers put it at 4.95%, with the median gross rent in Detroit up 2.86% from 2014 to 2017. We are thrilled to be part of Detroit’s rebirth.
Here’s a great article about Detroit’s journey to rebirth.