DETROIT — Marathon Petroleum Corp. has bought two-thirds of the homes in an area of southwest Detroit where the oil company is carrying out a $2.2 billion expansion, a newspaper reported today.
The company announced in November 2011 that it wanted to create a buffer area between its growing refinery operation and residential areas. The area already had many vacant buildings and empty lots.
Marathon has bought 205 homes so far, according to The Detroit News, though it was unclear how much money the company had spent to purchase all of them.
The company began with a list of 296 homeowners, and 265 of them agreed to discuss terms for a possible sale. The company made offers to 258 of them.
Marathon has said that it's offering a minimum of $40,000 for owner-occupied homes.
According to Marathon spokesman Jamal Kheiry, the average appraisal has been about $16,000 and the company's average offer has been about $65,000.
“We consider it quite a success,” said Kheiry. “The whole project was an opportunity to give folks who wanted to move an opportunity to do so in an economically viable way.”
Above its minimum offer of $40,000, the company said it will pay the average of two appraisals, plus a premium bonus of 50 percent.
The company also is giving $5,000 allowances for miscellaneous expenses, $500 for owners to use for real estate advice and up to $1,500 in new mortgage assistance.
The view from Cristy Moore's front porch has changed markedly in the past year, including the demolition Wednesday of the house next to hers.
“Just in this part of the neighborhood, I'd say we've seen 20 to 25 homes knocked down,” Moore said. “It's like ghost town.”
Linda Chernowas and her husband said they had no intention of moving but changed their minds because of his health problems. The couple is moving to the nearby suburb of Taylor.
“This neighborhood now looks like a disaster area as far as I'm concerned,” Chernowas said. “Now when I leave to go to work on our new house and come back here, I don't know which buildings are still going to be standing and which will be gone.”
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