DETROIT (AP) — A dozen homes in Detroit have been mistakenly demolished, a city official says.
One of the residences had been purchased by a pair of artists who bought it for $500 at a tax auction in October.
Kristine Diven and Micho McAdow planned to fix up the empty two-story home and move in by the spring. But when they drove by one evening in December, their new house was gone.
"Instead of taking measurements for the boards we needed, we found our house in a pile," Diven told The Detroit News for a story published Saturday.
The structure had been demolished by the state's Land Bank Fast Track Authority as part of a program to eliminate blight near schools. At least 11 other properties, all bought by an area investor, also were razed in error, said Karla Henderson, director of Detroit's planning and facilities department.
Mistakes such as these are rare, city and state officials said. Before being sold at auction, all of the homes had been scheduled for demolition, said state government spokesman Kurt Weiss.
The other 11 properties mistakenly taken down were purchased by Sameer Beydoun, a Dearborn real estate agent. Beydoun declined to comment to the News, but a spokeswoman for his company, Metro Property Group, said he bought the properties with the idea of rehabbing them to help restore Detroit neighborhoods.
"MPG is working with the state and county to resolve this matter, in terms of reimbursement," said spokeswoman Darci McConnell.
After it was discovered that Diven and McAdow's home had been wrecked, Henderson gave Diven a list of empty, city-owned properties with an offer that she could take one, and Weiss said the Wayne County treasurer's office refunded the $500 paid for the house.
Weiss said the state remains committed to tearing down blighted structures near schools and is confident that similar errors will be avoided.
Last summer, Gov. Rick Snyder launched a pilot project among the city, state and Wayne County to use $10 million to demolish about 1,200 abandoned buildings surrounding schools in three Detroit neighborhoods.