Housing project where Supremes lived coming down

Associated Press Modified: November 15, 2012 at 3:50 pm •  Published: November 15, 2012
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DETROIT (AP) — A vacant Detroit housing project that was home to the Supremes before the talented trio struck gold with Motown is coming down.

Demolition of the massive Frederick Douglass Homes — known to most Detroit residents as the Brewster projects — could begin in early 2013, Mayor Dave Bing announced Thursday.

Covering several city blocks, the complex bathes part of downtown and surrounding neighborhoods in shadow and fear and is a symbol of the city's decline.

A $6.5 million federal Housing and Urban Development grant will cover the cost of tearing down the 75 condo-style apartments, two 6-story buildings and four 14-story towers. Soil remediation — the removal of any below-ground pollution — is included in that tally.

"It's going to take us, probably, the better part of a year to get everything down," the mayor told reporters at a news conference in front of the hulking complex. "This total area will be cleaned up."

The city has no set plans for redevelopment of the complex where a young Diana Ross, Florence Ballard and Mary Wilson lived before signing with Berry Gordy's Motown Records in the early 1960s. Past proposals have included a mix of new homes and retail establishments.

"I know there's a lot of history here. I'm sure some people may even think that it shouldn't come down," Bing said. "But as we look at changing the face of Detroit, this is going to start with this.