Detroit Free Press, “Detroit sides with anarchists over developer in land bid”

A self-described “anarchist housing collective” where members live a communal life sharing expenses as they occasionally host live music shows has successfully outbid a land developer trying to buy lots next door for new apartments.

The anarchist group, known as Trumbullplex, owns a pair of Victorian-era houses and a performance space at 4210 Trumbull in the Woodbridge neighborhood, next to the lots. For decades, the group has used one of the city-owned parcels as a gathering spot with greenery, fruit trees, a fire pit and parking for a painted blue school bus.

Many of the collective’s 11 residents consider themselves anarchists because they don’t believe in government and yearn for a stateless society. The group says it has tried for years to buy the lot, but the city said the land wasn’t available.

The group has made the case on social media that the side lot really belongs to the community and serves as a gathering area for neighbors, particularly during the summer months. Woodbridge neighbors who hang out in the lot include musician Sixto Rodriguez, who was the subject of a documentary called ‘Searching for Sugarman.’

“Lots of community potlucks have been here,” said Trumbullplex resident Joshua Allen, 34, who wants to keep the land as it is. “We’ve been caring for these two lots since the collective was started … it would be a bummer to see this turned into a house and a parking lot.”

City officials made a tentative decision this week to sell the two side-by-side lots on Trumbull Street in the Woodbridge neighborhood to the collective for $10,000, turning down an equally priced offer from the developer.

The city on Tuesday chose Trumbullplex’s equal bid over developer Alex Pereira because it was deemed more important for the community to keep the lots as is. Pereira wants to construct a building on the lots featuring three to six housing units, ground-floor commercial space and an architectural style in keeping with the area’s historical character.

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