Tour nationally-recognized historic renovations in Palmer Park this Saturday

Palmer Park continues to undergo major renovation work and receive national recognition thanks to the efforts of Shelborne Development and Malino Construction.
 
Model D has previously reported on the revitalization work being done in this neighborhood. Kathy Makino-Leipsitz, co-owner of Malino Construction and Shelborne Development along with her husband Mark Leipsitz, owns 13 buildings in the area. She is leading the development of the historic apartment buildings in Palmer Park that comprise one of the most uniquely varied and densely concentrated mixes of 20th century architecture styles in the state, spanning more than four decades of Art Deco.
 
Last month Shelborne Development was honored during the Novogradac Journal of Tax Credits conference with the "2013 Historic Tax Credit Development that Best Demonstrates Financial Innovation" award for Palmer Park Square, a $35 million affordable housing development. Makino-Leipsitz, in conjunction with the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA), City of Detroit and Great Lakes Capital Fund, assembled a complex financial package from seven different funding sources to rehabilitate six historically significant, blighted/vacant apartment buildings in Palmer Park that were added to the National Register of Historic Places.
 
Shelborne just completed the renovation work on the Seville Apartments at 750 Whitmore. Previously 40 efficiency units, the interior was gutted to reconfigure the space into 16 larger units. The grand two-story lobby was also restored. They are also currently renovating the Palmer Lodge, the first building built in Palmer Park in 1925. Work is ongoing, but the grand lobby is complete. "The whole building is the symbol of revitalization in the area," says Sarah James, board chair of the People for Palmer Park, a nonprofit organization that focuses on the revitalization of the nearly 300-acre park.
 
Every year the People for Palmer Park hosts an architectural tour of the historic buildings in the area, showcasing the nationally-significant apartment district as well as the park. She says the park and the apartment buildings next to it have a symbiotic relationship, and the health of one directly affects the other. The nonprofit started this tour three years ago to showcase the apartment district as well as the park. This year's tours will be held on Saturday, October 5 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
 
This is the third annual architectural tour and they have been hugely popular, attracting 200 people the first year, 400 the second year, and an expected 600 this year. Because of the significant amount of housing stock in the area, this year's tour will focus on different buildings than last year's. This year's tour includes the newly-completed Seville Apartments, the lobby of the Palmer Lodge, and the Sarasota Apartments at 325 Merton, which were completed by Shelborne in the last year. The tour will also take guests through a 3,000-square-foot unit inside the Albert Kahn-designed apartment building Walbri Court at 1001 Covington, renovated and converted to condos in 2006. The park and its 1800s log cabin will be open for visitors to explore before or after their tours.
 
People for Palmer Park will also offer free Segway tours of the park trails to anyone with a tour ticket, and there will be music, classic cars, and FoodLab vendors.
 
Tours are $15 in advance and $20 at the door with tours leaving every 15 minutes from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
 
Source: Sarah James, board chair of the People for Palmer Park
Writer: Nicole Rupersburg

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Nicole Rupersburg is a former Detroiter now in Las Vegas who regularly writes about food, drink, and urban innovators. You can follow her on Instagram @eatsdrinksandleaves and Twitter @ruperstarski.
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