Mies Towers for Sale….(Just Read the Fine Print first)

Lafayette Park (1946) Ludwig . Photo via Flickr CC User MI SHPO.

No architectural gem is safe from ’s foreclosure crisis – not even two of Mies Van der Rohe’s very own creations. The Lafayette Towers, two 22-story towers of 584 units, originally part of a major urban redevelopment project in the late 50s early 60s, are up for auction July 18th.

But be warned, there is a catch…

Find out the fine print, after the break.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), who are running the auction, have some very detailed clauses for the Towers’ future owners. $10 million dollars worth of clauses, to be exact.

Within 18 months, the owners must complete a laundry list of reparations (including replacing bathtubs and installing peepholes). And to make sure you’re on-task, HUD will require you to send quarterly progress reports (with pictures of course) and put down $2.5 million dollars as a kind of deposit.

As ArtInfo puts it, “HUD’s comprehensive list of repairs is a fine print nightmare for developers but a blessing for Mies’s 1960s-era architecture.” Perhaps this foreclosure may just be a blessing in disguise.

Story via ArtInfo, Curbed Detroit, Archinect

Cite: Quirk, Vanessa. "Mies Towers for Sale….(Just Read the Fine Print first)" 05 Jul 2012. ArchDaily. Accessed 25 May 2015. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=252060>
  • Jason

    A few years ago the building was sold to a company who ran it into the ground. The sooner it was foreclosed on the better. They had driven occupancy down to 60-70%, and the longer they would have had it the worse the building would have got. The only reason it’s at 70% right now is because there’s a lot of demand for rentals downtown and because it’s a Mies building.

    Meanwhile across the park is another Mies tower, still managed by the older company. There are only ever a handful of available units at any given time, and the rents are about $300 more, and the residents love living there.

    • J Moses

      The Habitat Company began running Lafayette Towers into the ground back in the early 80′s when they realized the buildings could no longer compete with new luxury developments like Riverfront Towers.
      Yes, Northern Group was terrible in terms of management, but issues such as completely deteriorated plumbing, heating/cooling, concrete structure (actually, the whole developments infrastructure) didn’t evolve in just 3.5 years. It took 30 years of consistent neglect. As a resident of the Towers during the Habitat days; I can attest to the broken/leaking pipes causing blistering plaster everywhere; poor heat; and incompetant maintenance.
      It is the Northern Group’s fault for not inspecting the buildings properly. But then; we are talking about very shady people, anyway.
      Also, life at the Pavillion improved greatly after the sale of the Towers. Prior, the building was very mediocre, but a slight step-up.

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  • John Nickles

    OMG! I lived there for a year. The floor to ceiling window living was a cool experience, especially my corner apt. Must admit the outside air vent design was drafty in winter.