Skip to content
CityLab
Design

A 140-Acre Forest Is About to Materialize in the Middle of Detroit

The city's emergency manager has approved a deal to turn scores of blighted properties into a lush green space with maple and oak trees.
relates to A 140-Acre Forest Is About to Materialize in the Middle of Detroit
Joseph Murphy/Bassett & Bassett

After nearly five years of planning, a large-scale attempt to turn a big chunk of Detroit into an urban forest is now underway. The purchase of more than 1,500 vacant city-owned lots on the city's lower east side – a total of more than 140 acres – got final approval from Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr and Michigan Governor Rick Snyder last week.

The buyer is Hantz Farms, and it's a venture of financier John Hantz, who lives in the nearby Indian Village neighborhood. Indian Village is an affluent enclave of manor-scale historic homes, but much of the surrounding area is blighted. Hantz Farms will pay more than $500,000 for the land, which consists of non-contiguous parcels in an area where occupied homes are increasingly surrounding by abandoned properties.