First built in 1943, Herman Gardens, known as "the Gardens", had 2,144 units of mostly two-story multi-family buildings. The 129-unit Gardenview Senior building was on the Herman Gardens site.
"The Gardens" was located on the West Side of Detroit - on Joy Road at the Southfield Freeway, close to what was then termed "some of the most affluent neighborhoods in the City of Detroit." The Herman Gardens were home to some notable individuals. Automobile giant John De Lorean, TV judge Greg Mathis, and classic Motown group The Spinners all called the Herman Gardens home.
After problems had occurred in the buildings from the illegal drug trade in the early 1980s, the Detroit Housing Commission (DHC) applied for HOPE VI funds under the 1996 NOFA, it intended to reduce the number of public housing units from 1,573 to 672. By August 1996, HUD had approved the demolition of 685 units using other (non-HOPE VI) funds, and the HOPE VI application proposed demolishing another 538 units. The application proposed renovating 274 of those existing units and building 222 new houses, along with 92 single-family houses and 84 duplexes, for a total of 672 units at the revitalized site.
The cover letter for the 1996 application declared, "The Plan presented in this application does far more than demolish and rehabilitate old apartments, it rebuilds lives on a foundation of entrepreneurship, jobs, and training." That plan subsequently failed to come to fruition.
After over a decade of planning, the first phase of the 833-unit, mixed-income development named Gardenview Estates was opened on the former site of Herman Gardens, on the 2nd of September 2009. Of these units, 496 units will be for rent, and 337 for ownership. The first phase consisted of 96 units, 48 of which are public housing units and 48 Low-Income Housing Tax-Credit units. The entire complex is scheduled to be completed by 2013.
- Donna M. White (September 2, 2009). "HUD AND MAYOR BING WELCOME FIRST FAMILY TO NEW HOMES AT OLD HERMAN GARDENS SITE". U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Press Release.
- Herman G. Ardens (2009-09-02nd). "Gardenview Estates to bring 833 new housing opportunities, marks neighborhood transformation". HUD.
- Detroit Housing Commission website, accessed 22 January 2010