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Democratic Lt. Governor candidate facing blight house controversy in Detroit

Posted: 5:46 PM, Oct 12, 2018
Updated: 2018-10-12 21:46:02Z
Garlin Gilchrist is running for the second most powerful job in Michigan.  But new questions are being raised about whether he’s adding to the blight of Detroit. 
 
He is the absentee owner of a house on Marston that he bought from the Detroit Land Bank.  He was supposed to rehab the house within 6 months and it is approaching two years behind schedule.
 
We were told Gilchrist was not available for comment.  The house has new windows in the front but much more needs to be done to turn the duplex into apartments as planned.  Ves Robinson lives near by and tells 7 Action News, “He needs to think about another job because that right there isn’t showing too much character.”
 
We were given this statement from the Whitmer campaign on behalf of Gilchrist:
 
Two years after my family moved back to Detroit, I purchased the apartment building on Marston. I planned to rehabilitate the property from its significant fire damage and rent out its eight, one-bedroom apartments. I committed to this project because North End has personal significance to my childhood.
 
I have been working to secure financing for the project since purchasing it because I knew significant work needed to be done. Because I wanted to begin quickly, I began to deal with the building’s immediate problems and work to make it structurally sound before finalizing that financing.
 
I exhausted my personal resources to demolish the building interior, remove the collapsing rear balcony and staircase, repair the significant damage to the leaking roof, install main line plumbing, install new windows, and level the building by raising it eight inches. I also hired an architect to draw plans for the building and initiate the permitting process for construction. 
 
That said, the apartment building is not in the state that I want it to be in, even with the significant progress that has been made thus far. I have been in communication with the Land Bank staff throughout this process about the building status. 
 
It has been a struggle to secure a loan to complete the project, in part due to my pursuits of elected office in 2017 and now again in 2018. I remain committed to securing the financing, ending the holding pattern that this project has been in, and bringing the apartment building renovation to completion as soon as possible. 
 
We were given this statement by the Detroit Land Bank:
 
Mr. Gilchrist purchased 253 Marston through a Detroit Land Bank Authority Auction in August 2016. The Detroit Land Bank Authority is actively monitoring Mr. Gilchrist’s progress at 253 Marston in accordance with the DLBA’s compliance program. The Detroit Land Bank Authority has continued to work with Mr. Gilchrist based on several factors, including the unusual size and scope of the project—253 Marston is an eight-unit dwelling in need of significant financing, whereas most structures sold by the Detroit Land Bank Authority are single-family homes. Additionally, the Detroit Land Bank Authority granted Mr. Gilchrist an extension based on direct contact with lenders who provided evidence that financing was forthcoming, evidence of considerable investment at the property, and ongoing communication. The Detroit Land Bank Authority finds the current condition of the exterior of 253 Marston to be unacceptable, and on Thursday, October 11th, 2018 Mr. Gilchrist was given until Monday, October 15th, 2018 to provide proof that the exterior of the property is clean and secure. The Detroit Land Bank Authority has previously issued multiple warnings to Mr. Gilchrist regarding non-compliance. If Mr. Gilchrist fails to provide the requested evidence of clean-up at his property, the Detroit Land Bank Authority will issue a notice of reconveyance.