When 4722 Avery St. was auctioned off by the Detroit Land Bank Authority in May 2014, it received 205 bids, with the winner laying down $87,100 for the historic Woodbridge home, which was built in 1881. Alex Pereira and his Secure Realty company placed that 205th
bid. Don't tell the city, but Pereira was prepared to spend as much as $130,000 on the house, determined, he says, to add the home to his growing list of Woodbridge properties.
Now the owner of three homes in Woodbridge, Pereira is in negotiations to purchase two more. He says he's committed to a detailed and quality rehabilitation of these homes and a tour of his 4722 Avery property confirms as much. On top of the $87,100 purchase price, Pereira says he's investing $150,000 into the house, making it nearly as grand as it was when it was first built -- and much more energy efficient.
It's the exteriors of his houses, however, that have received all of the attention. This is because Pereira fashions the historic homes after children's stories. His first Detroit property, 4759 Trumbull, features the Lorax
, the character of a Dr. Seuss book of the same name. Pereira's latest house, 4722 Avery, has been painted in bright blue, yellow, and green, modeled after the house from "Up," a Pixar and Disney computer-animated film from 2009.
Pereira's aesthetic choices have elicited a range of reactions from neighbors and passersby, both positive and negative. It's a bold color scheme, bound to spark conversation. But for whatever kickback he has received, Pereira remains unfazed, saying that the initial criticisms of the Lorax House have already waned. He suspects the same will be true for the Up House, as it's called. The longer it stands, the more accepted and part of the neighborhood it will become.
Despite the naysayers, Pereira is committed to seeing his vision through. Once construction is completed on the Up House next month, he'll begin work on a third house, this time on Commonwealth. Though he won't say which one, Pereira plans another design based off a children's book or movie. This one, he says, will be even brighter than the Up House.
"I just had a little boy, my first son. We're moving to this neighborhood, my wife and I and my son. I'm trying to create a place I think he'd like to live in," says Pereira.
The Up House is split into three flats, two two-bedroom units and a one-bedroom. The first floor has already been leased.
Source: Alex Pereira, developer at Secure Realty
Writer: MJ Galbraith
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