A young Detroit couple who thought they had a bargain on their hands when they snapped up an old townhouse for just $500 at auction swiftly saw their dreams come crashing back down to earth – quite literally – when they went to visit the property just a few weeks later. Their new home had been reduced to a pile of rubble.
Artists Kristine Diven and Micho McAdow told The Detroit News that they couldn’t believe their luck when they were able to purchase the rundown, two-storey home at such a bargain price last month. The couple quickly set about making plans to renovate the property and transform it into their dream home, with the intention of moving in by late spring. However, when they went to check up on the property following the New Year break, to their horror they found that it had been completely demolished, and with it their dreams of an affordable home they could call their own.
"Instead of taking measurements for the boards we needed, we found our house in a pile," said a shell-shocked Diven.
“When we drove up, I thought what I was seeing couldn't be right. In the past (few) weeks, it's almost like being in mourning."
The couple were not alone in their mourning. Apparently, eleven other properties were bulldozed, and not by mistake. To further compound the nightmare, it turns out that the properties were actually earmarked for demolishing several months beforehand, and the only mistake made was that they were auctioned off.
Detroit’s Planning and Facilities Department told The Detroit News that the homes were bulldozed as part of its ongoing program to eliminate what it considered ‘neighborhood blight’ within the city – a program that has been particularly focused on neighborhoods near city schools like this one. According to the agency, the homes had previously been identified as being “vacant and dangerous”, and should never have been auctioned off.
It’s not clear how the mistake was made or who might be responsible, but even if the blame can be pinned on someone, it’s unlikely to bring much comfort to the artistic couple whose hopes were dashed. While Diven and McAdow were refunded the $500 they paid for their ‘new’ home, such a measly amount is unlikely to compensate for their lost dreams.