Daily digest: SCOTUS tosses Biden’s eviction moratorium, Detroit’s iconic Fisher Building hits the market, and more

A Lifeline, Severed

Daily digest: SCOTUS tosses Biden’s eviction moratorium, Detroit’s iconic Fisher Building hits the market, and more

Sculptural decorations by Hungarian artist Géza Maróti. above the main entrance of Albert Kahn's historic Fisher Building in Detroit. Associates. (KovacsDaniel/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 4.0)

For your final-Friday-in-August perusal, we’ve rounded up a few lingering news items from the world of architecture, design, housing, and beyond. Here’s what you need to know today:

Democrats slam overturning of eviction moratorium as “cruel and wrong”

In a 6-3 ruling last night, the conservative majority of the Supreme Court of the United States overturned the Biden administration’s moratorium on residential evictions, which was first enacted (and subsequently extended) by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to aid Americans who have lost their jobs or who have suffered from other financial hardships during the COVID-19 pandemic. The ruling, which sided with a coalition of landlords and real estate companies seeking to end the freeze, stated that: “If a federally imposed eviction moratorium is to continue, Congress must specifically authorize it.” It further states:

“The CDC has imposed a nationwide moratorium on evictions in reliance on a decades-old statute that authorizes it to implement measures like fumigation and pest extermination. It strains credulity to believe that this statute grants the CDC the sweeping authority that it asserts.”

The ruling now puts hundreds of thousands of tenants at risk of becoming unhoused as the highly infectious Delta variant continues to sweep through several states. “The public interest strongly favors respecting the CDC’s judgment at this moment, when over 90 percent of counties are experiencing high [coronavirus] transmission rates,” Justice Stephen Breyer wrote in his dissent.

“This is cruel and wrong,” tweeted Rep. Pramila Jayapal, a Democrat from Washington state who chairs the Congressional Progressive Caucus. “If the public health crisis hasn’t ended, then the relief to survive it shouldn’t either. We must immediately do everything possible to keep people in their homes. This is a matter of life and death.”

The historic Fisher Building in Detroit hits the market following expansive restoration work

Detroit’s Albert Kahn Associates-designed Fisher Building is officially on the block (sans asking price) now that a six-year, $30 million round of renovations has wrapped up at the iconic Art Deco skyscraper, which was completed in 1928 and designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1989. As detailed by the Detroit Free Press, the storied New Center tower—also affectionately known as “Detroit’s largest art object”—is currently owned by a partnership that includes New York-based HFZ along with The Platform and Rheal Capital Management. It features 505,000 square feet of office space, 68,000 square feet of retail space for lease, and 1,900 parking spaces located within an attached parking garage. The 30-story building, headquarters for the Detroit Public Schools Community District, is also home to the fabled Fisher Theatre, a Detroit landmark in its own right.

“We are proud of the work that we have performed to preserve this important piece of Detroit’s history,” said Peter Cummings, executive chairman and CEO of The Platform, in a statement. “We have made significant investments to reposition this property as a first-class office building and community gathering space and have overseen a substantial increase in office and retail occupancy. As such, we feel the time is right to find the Fisher’s next steward.” Any takers?

H/t Detroit Free Press

Vice is decamping to the Brooklyn Navy Yard

Scrappy, slavishly adored Montreal print magazine-turned-digital media and broadcasting titan Vice Media is ditching its longtime headquarters on Kent Street in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, (and several satellite offices) for larger, consolidated digs at the S9 Architecture-designed Dock 72 building in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. As reported by Brownstoner, Vice Media will take “four or five floors” of the glassy, nautical-inspired structure abutting the East River. The stepped 16-story office complex was completed in 2019 as a joint venture between Boston Properties and Rudin Management in collaboration with WeWork.

Yesterday’s announcement of the move coincided with news that Vice has initiated yet another round of layoffs as it shifts to video content. The layoffs impacted 17 editorial staffers at Refinery29 and Vice Digital.

H/t to Brownstoner

Spike Lee removes 9/11 conspiracy theory-promoting segment from HBO docuseries 

In the wake of substantial uproar, Academy Award-winning filmmaker Spike Lee has edited out a 30-minute segment in the fourth and final episode of his eight-hour HBO documentary series NYC Epicenters 9/11-2021½. The segment in question features extensive interviews with members of the 9/11 conspiracy theory group Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth, which per the New York Times, is known for pushing “the debunked view that the buildings were brought down by a controlled demolition, not by terror attacks.” In a prior interview with the Times, Lee sparked furor when he lent credence to the unfounded theories about how the World Trade Center towers collapsed, saying: “[…] And then the juxtaposition of the way Building 7 fell to the ground — when you put it next to other building collapses that were demolitions, it’s like you’re looking at the same thing. But people going to make up their own mind. My approach is put the information in the movie and let people decide for themselves. I respect the intelligence of the audience.”

The final episode of NYC Epicenters 9/11-2021½, now 90 minutes instead of two hours, will air on the 20th anniversary of the attacks.

H/t to New York Times

Los Angeles City Council mandates that all affordable housing be listed on dedicated website

Per Urbanize LA, Los Angeles City Council has passed a rule change that requires all affordable housing units within the city be publicly listed on the website in addition to the leasing websites of any relevant development. Additionally, as mandated by the Council in the new rules, the Housing Department and City Attorney must also require an open application process for new affordable units moving forward. The move, introduced by Councilmember Mark Ridley-Thomas of the 10th District, is geared to make locating and securing affordable housing in L.A. all the easier for prospective tenants.

H/t to Urbanize LA