What suburbs can expect from a bankruptcy filing - WFSB 3 Connecticut


What suburbs can expect from a bankruptcy filing

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Grosse Pointe, MI is a suburb of Detroit and was affected by the city's bankruptcy. (WFSB) Grosse Pointe, MI is a suburb of Detroit and was affected by the city's bankruptcy. (WFSB)

The I-Team's final piece to it's Capital City in Crisis series revolves around what suburbs can expect from a potential bankruptcy filing by Hartford.

To find that out,  the I-Team headed to Detroit, the largest city to ever file for Chapter 9 bankruptcy.

One of the things it heard over and over was that the city itself may have had the financial struggle, but the entire region was affected by what happened.

The I-Team stopped in one of Detroit's wealthiest suburbs and found out that it benefited from a stronger city next door.

From the idyllic downtown bustling with shops and businesses to the tree-lined avenues and stately homes, Grosse Pointe could pass as a stand-in for any number of Hartford's charming suburbs.

However, this well-to-do community shares a border with Detroit. It's a fact that was once its biggest drawback.

"When people would come into town they were concerned that they didn't want to have the crime issue, the lights, the city services," said Kay Agney, Higbie Maxon Agney Realtors. "Detroit was in bad shape."

Agney has been a realtor in Grosse Pointe for more than 30 years. To her, the housing market in her beloved suburb is the perfect way to take the temperature of Detroit's recovery.

In 2008, housing prices plunged there by 40 percent or more and were dragged down by the free-falling economy in Detroit.

Out of town transplants would only want to see houses to the north or west of the city and hopes to avoid the blight and other issues that accompanied the Motor City's collapse.

"It looked like a war zone," Agney said. "Many of the lights weren't working, crime was high and it was really dismal."

Today, things have turned. Grosse Pointe is the hottest market in Michigan. Young professionals clamor for a neighborhood that gives them a short drive to downtown through what was one of Detroit's worst neighborhoods.

"The bankruptcy of Detroit really was the  beginning of everything turning around," Agney said.

Agney said she was leary of talking to the I-Team. She was worried it was there to talk only about Detroit's shortcomings.

She said she ultimately agreed to meet it because she felt the turnaround afforded by the courts was so good, she had to share the story.

"Back in 2008, we had over 800 houses for sale in the Grosse Pointes in all price ranges, and I think today we're at like 190," she said. "So it's been a good shot in the arm for Grosse Pointe for sure. It was an opportunity for that city, for Detroit to build itself back up again. I think we're back."

Friday, the I-Team's Capital City in Crisis series will conclude with a look at another city that's been through bankruptcy, but is much closer to home.

It headed to Central Falls, RI, a city that also went through some tough times but is now seeing a resurgence.

Here are the previous stories in this series:

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