Herb Strather, the casino developer who scooped up 6,365 foreclosed Detroit properties in a single mysterious bid last week, withdrew his eyebrow-raising bid this morning Detroit freelancer Anna Clark reports on the Next City website.
Strather, Clark writes, withdrew his $3.1 million bid for an enormous swath of Detroit buildings and lots today, scarcely a week after placing it and after inspiring dozens of headlines around the country, including in the Huffington Post, Bloomberg Businessweek, and the Associated Press. His change of plans was confirmed by Deputy Treasurer David Szymanski, who gave me this statement:
This morning Wayne County Treasurer Ray Wojtowicz received word from Herb Strather that the bid for the blight bundle consisting of over 6,000 properties was being withdrawn following discussions concerning a possible development agreement. Confirmation has been received through discussion with John Page of Eco Solutions, who was the registered bidder. He expressed interest in being involved in further opportunities in the blight elimination efforts in Detroit.
“The development of … this package of properties was unique and we appreciate the interest expressed by Eco Solutions, John Page, and Herb Strather. While we were not able to reach agreement as to a development agreement we do look forward to continued participation by Eco Solutions as we work with Mayor (Mike) Duggan to address blight in our neighborhoods. Blight elimination is essential to improve conditions in our communities,” explained Treasurer Wojtowicz.
Clark reports the properties now transfer back to the city, which will proceed with the process until the properties do end up with the land bank after all.
And this, perhaps, is the greatest evidence that the blight bundle, as an urban planning tactic, is a good idea. Even with a curveball thrown in, the process works. Casual speculators don’t win; Detroiters do.