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Detroit orders tenants of Russell Industrial Center out immediately

Feb 21, 2017

One of the largest hubs for artists in the Midwest may soon be abandoned, at least temporarily, after Detroit's Building Department ordered all tenants in the Russell Industrial Center to immediately vacate the premises, due to building code violations.

Jimi Custer owns a video production company, The Afterhours Network, that operates out of the Center, as well as Channel 313.tv.

He says the notice was a complete surprise.

"I came to my work today and all of a sudden I can't do my business," says Custer.  "Now I've got to figure out where I'm going to relocate."

Custer says the tight-knit community of 184 small business owners in the Russell Industrial Center is irreplaceable. He hopes the violations will be addressed by the owner as soon as possible, so people can move back in.

He says he understands the increased scrutiny on building safety, after a fire at a warehouse in Oakland, California killed 36 people last year.

But he says conditions at the Center are far safer.

The city's building department says the Russell Industrial Center failed to follow guidelines for several units, including illegally installing plumbing and heating systems without permits.

In one case, inspectors say they found leaking natural gas.