Death of developer Joel Landy leaves Detroit properties up for sale

Known for his shrewd business sense, old hippie vibes and often disheveled appearance, Joel Landy began acquiring properties in Detroit’s Cass Corridor in the 1970s when working as an auto mechanic.

While others moved out as the neighborhood deteriorated, he stayed.

By the time of his death in August 2020 at age 68, Landy was a major property owner and redeveloper in the corridor — now better known as Midtown — and his portfolio had grown to encompass several blocks of houses, storefronts and apartment buildings, as well as former schools and vacant lots.

The total value could approach $50 million.

Landy was not married and had no children, leaving him few natural heirs.

Those in charge of Landy’s estate are now seeking a buyer willing to take all 43 of his properties as a single package.

“Obviously, it’s going to be a specific type of buyer that we’re looking for — it’s not something for everybody,” said Joseph Kopietz, who was Landy’s attorney on real estate matters and is the lead trustee of Landy’s trust.

The former Delta Preparatory High School at 3550 John C. Lodge Freeway is one of many of the late Joel Landy portfolio properties on Friday, July 2022 in Detroit.

The prospect of new ownership has some of Landy’s longtime tenants nervous.

Most of Landy’s properties are in the corridor just north of Little Caesars Arena, although he also he owned a converted condo building on Antietam Avenue in Lafayette Park that had once been a school for handicapped children.