Helen Miller is, by all accounts, the longest serving resident at Dearborn Towers.
She has enjoyed the 24 years she has lived there, doing water aerobics in the morning with friends she has made through the years at the retirement community on Island Estates.
However, the building–owned by the city of Dearborn–was sold for $6.251 million March 13, leaving questions as to what the future holds for residents at the 88-unit complex.
The deal with Alchemy Management is expected to close within a month. The company told the city that they intend to turn the property into a condominium community.
For Miller, 85, who lost her husband years ago and has no other family, if the building is converted from rentals she would have no where to go and does not know where to start to look.
“This is my home,” she said.
'I'm Amazed That it Sold'
The "Go Blue" bumper stickers, Michigan license plates and sheer number of Detroit iron in the parking lot could give away, if not the name, that Dearborn Towers is home away from the Wolverine State.
The city bought it decades ago as a haven for retired Dearborners. Age and previous Dearborn residency are requisites for living there.
The faded blue paint on the aging eight-story building came from an abundance of swimming pool paint in Dearborn, a resident there said.
The retirement property, located on Island Estates, was put on the market in late 2010, after Dearborn voters approved its sale in 2007. However, concerns over the presence of asbestos in the property put a roadblock in the sale earlier this year.
“I’m amazed that it sold. Who would be so dumb to pay over market value?”
Residents said they were amazed that the property sold for so much.
Michael Miekstyn, a snowbird, who has lived in his unit on the top floor for more than 10 years is worried about the older residents who live at the complex year- round. But also found the sale curious.
“I’m amazed that it sold,” Miekstyn said. “Who would be so dumb to pay over market value?”
Joe Terry, a snowbird who has lived at Dearborn Towers for 12 years, said at one time there was a waiting list to get in. Not so, since the questions started circling about the building’s sale.
“No one wants to spend $1,000 in furniture and then be out in 30 days,” Terry said.
A Hot Topic for Residents
Talk of the sale filled the conversation of the nearly 60 residents and former residents during a chicken dinner Thursday afternoon by the pool.
Some of the rumors swirling around the patio include whether the new owner will keep the tenants during renovations or if they all will have to look for a new place to live in the next two months.
Rita Ellis, who has lived at Dearborn Towers 10 years, loves the sense of community at the building.
“Everyone gets around and helps one another out,” Ellis said. “We have mixed emotions with the sale.”
Ellis, who pays about $900 a month for her unit on the sixth floor for the six months out of the year she is in Florida, also wonders about the change from rentals to possible condominiums.
“At our stage in life," she said, "no one wants to buy."
You can find more articles from this ongoing series, “Dispatches: The Changing American Dream” from across the country at The Huffington Post.