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Detroit's Boston-Edison district a mix of history and charm

Sunday, December 19, 2010 3:59 PM | Michael Mowers (Administrator)

Greta Guest, Detroit Free Press, December 19, 2010 (A tour of the neighborhood and homes on the 2010 Holiday Home Tour.)

In Detroit's historic Boston-Edison district, where a 3,000-square-foot home is considered small, it takes commitment and cash to keep up the roughly 900 houses in the 36-block area. There are 30 homes for sale in the neighborhood, priced from $12,000 to $1.2 million.

[T]he rewards of living in the neighborhood that was fashioned by Detroit's leaders of the last century are many, residents say. Most of the stately homes and mansions were built between 1905 and 1925 and became the gathering place of Detroit's elite residents of the time including the Fisher Brothers, Fred W. Sanders, Sebastian Kresge, Benjamin Siegel and, more recently, Berry Gordy Jr.

"I would never want to discourage anyone from living in these areas, but when you do a repair or modernization you are talking about huge areas of square feet," [said Cheryl Kachaturoff, a Realtor with Century 21 Curran and Christie]. "A lot of people go in with excitement about fixing up these beautiful mansions, but they don't think about the repairs." That said, Kachaturoff notes that those who do buy in such neighborhoods have the benefit of living near others who share their love for historic homes and are very involved in the community.

"People who are looking now are so lucky," [HBEA vice-president Wanda] McGlown said, noting that the housing slump has made most homes in the district extremely affordable. McGlown said the area has been getting a lot more attention, including being featured recently on an episode of "Detroit 1-8-7." And the area is in a Neighborhood Enterprise Zone, which gives tax breaks to residents. "It's a great, great neighborhood," said McGlown, a Chrysler engineer. "To look at Detroit as an opportunity is what we try to do."

View the photos accompanying the article.

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