Palmer Park and the University District- Detroit’s wealthiest African American enclave

I included several linked and related districts surrounding Palmer Park including the Palmer Park Apartment  District, Palmer Woods, Sherwood Forest, and the University District. Sherwood Forest and Palmer Woods are large mansions districts built in the 1920s-1930s with sinuous streets. Palmer Woods hosts smaller but large homes on gridded streets from the same area. The Palmer Apt District hosts incredible 1910s-1930s historic apartments bldgs. Unfortunately many of them are abandonded.

This district is by far the wealthiest African American pocket within Detroit’s city limits. Because of this homes, are well maintained and generally sell between 300K-500K with a strong commercial district running along Livernois. Blight, however, is not far away creeping into the districts southern and eastern edges. Hopefully with a major urban infrastructure investment on Livernois and the neighborhood’s existing assets, this area can continue to stabilize and spill over into surrounding districts.

Major urban improvements to the neighborhood include the need for more density and urbanization of Woodward Avenue. Given Detroit’s current population trajectory, I don’t see this happening anytime soon but hope there will soon be urban in-fill going up along Livernois building off the street’s successes.
Click to view my Palmer Woods and Palmer Park Historic District Albums on Flickr

URBAN STRENGTHS:

* Good transit access and downtown access but still 8 miles away.
* Most intersection have up to date ADA Access.
* Some dedicated bike lanes running through Palmer Park and good coverage by Detroit’s bike sharing system.
* The Single Family portion of this district includes some of the high Medium Households in Detroit. The apartments surrounding Palmer Park are just above the poverty level.
* Lots of Family households here at around 75%.
* Palmer Park certainly provides excellent park amenities to this neighborhood. Also a large cemetery and two golf course, but guessing these are not as popular.
* Lots of restaurants, bars, cafes, boutiques, and neighborhood retail lining Livernois St on a decent urban setting (at least for Detroit standards). Major streetscape improvements in the works for Livernois as well.
* Livernois also hosts a supermarket, post office, library, and a nice mix of boutiques and neighborhood serving retail. On the other hand commercial amenities on Woodward on limited due to blight and auto centric design.
* There is both a great Catholic Elementary and High School in the neighborhood. Several public schools of mixed rating.

URBAN WEAKNESSES:

* Still some blight in the Palmer Apt District and along the Wood Ave Commercial District.
* Even with good transit and bike coverage the neighborhood is still pretty spreadout requiring long walking distances between destinations.
* About 85% African American households.
* Most homes are 4 bedrooms costing around 300K. Larger properties go for 500-600K. Keep in mind all of these are large homes with decent back yards.
* Rentals are limited outside of the Palmer Apt District. Very affordable rents here where at 20bedrooms goes for $900-1$,000.
* Other than bars and restaurants and some events at Detroit Mercy University, limited cultural amenities here.

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