Monday, December 31, 2007

The Griswold Project Scrapped

The collapse of the housing market has claimed yet another victim. The 80 luxury condominium Griswold Project that was set to be built above the new 10-story Book Cadillac parking garage has been scrapped. The Detroit Downtown Development Authority and the Roxbury Group must pay $1.5 million after canceling an order for Steel and precast concrete molds.

Slow sales have at best, delayed the project, but the group is willing to reconsider the deal if the housing market improves. Only nine units had been sold by December 1st, with another seven set to be sold. This was not enough to meet the requirement that 20 units be sold by the end of the year. An extra $750,000 was spent by the city to reinforce the garage so condominiums could be built on top.


Remnant, originally uploaded by A Dubs.
The remains of the high speed test track at the Packard Proving Grounds. Shelby Township, MI

Monday, November 26, 2007

Rosa Parks Transit Center

Work at the Whitney

The upper facades on the David Whitney building have had some repair work undertaken recently. Workers have been Tuck pointing the brickwork and replacing damaged areas. A crane was lifting palates of glazed white bricks onto the roof last week.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Detroit 2.0

In case you missed it, Dan Gilbert has offically announced that he is moving his 4,000 employee strong Quicken Loans company to Downtown Detroit. Gilbert has contractually promised the city that he will make a final decision within the next 12 months to build his headquarters on one of two possible sites. The new headquarters will be built either on a site at Grand Circus Park that includes the locations of the now demolished Statler & Tuller Hotels and the currently vacant United Artists Building, or above the city's Premier Garage, which is the former site of Hudson's building.

Once the decision is made, it will take another 18 to 24 months to complete due diligence, renderings and construction plans. Gilbert is intent on developing both parcels of land and brining other companies into the mix. The city has also given Gilbert options to develop the Lafayette building and two city owned parking lots between Broadway and Library as part of the agreement.

Hudsons Site

Statler Site

Lafayette Building

City parking lots between Library and Broadway

The Watermark

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Ilitch Blocker Rising

Work is picking up at the new C.C. Bar.

October, 2007November, 2007

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Butte, MT

Check out my Montana travelblog for some interesting architecture in Butte.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Progress is Progress?

After a long delay since setting the foundations for Brush Park Village North. Progress can again be seen on Brush Park's latest condo development.
May, 2007

September, 2007

October, 2007

May, 2007

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October, 2007

Contrast this with the continued neglect of Hip City Living's other properties in Brush Park. This house on Erskine had its porch collapse in January and the rubble still remains till this day.

September, 2007

Nothing has been done to stabilize this house or any of Hip City Living's other properties in the neighborhood. In fact, the houses continue to deteriorate. The only noticeable signs of progress are the signs planted firmly in their front yards.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Clear Cut

The process of converting the Dequindre Cut from rail to trail has begun in earnest.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Sad News For Fort Wayne

The Historic Fort Wayne Coalition is reporting that the city of Detroit and State Historical Department have determined that hospital building needs to be demolished. Demolition will start October 9th.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

10 ft Tall and Rising

South University Village in Midtown is taking shape. The mixed-use project will consist of 130 apartments, ground-floor retail and a parking structure. The parking structure is visible in the distance.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Detroit's Historic Fort Wayne

Born from anxiety raised from the conflict known as the Patriot war, Fort Wayne was constructed in 1843 in an effort to fortify the United States' Northern border with British Canada. The Fort has never seen conflict. However, Detroit's Historic Fort Wayne from Arcadia Publishing delves into the history of the fort from its earliest days as a mustering center, till its final days of military service as launch control for missile batteries during the Cold War.

The book describes the conditions that led to the fort's construction before thoroughly detailing the structure itself. Authors James Conway and David F. James have done a remarkable job compiling a host of historical blueprints and photos documenting the fort's design. Other chapters detail Garrison life and the fort's place in the community.

Through the years Fort Wayne became more than a military fortification for the city of Detroit. It was also a social center and a refuge. During the depression the old troop barracks were used as housing for homeless families and the Work Progress Administration provided jobs improving the fort. The fort was also home to those displaced by the 1967 riots. The last families left Fort Wayne in 1971.

The important final chapter of the book focuses on the Fort Wayne's life as a museum. The museum has fallen on hard times and is a mere shadow of its former self. Detroit's Historic Fort Wayne serves as a terrific reminder of what the fort once was and what it can be once again. The pages are filled will compelling facts and photos of this once proud citadel. Flipping through the pages one gets a sense of how important this nearly forgotten relic has been to our city.

Photos reprinted with permission from Detroit's Historic Fort Wayne, by James Conway and David F. Jamroz. Available from the publisher online at or by calling (888) 313-2665.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Slumpy's Dead!

The William Livingston House was finally put out of its misery on September 15th, 2007

dfUNK captured the carnage last weekend.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Dark Tower Part II

As you may recall, back in May DTE cut the power to the Book Building and Book Tower for a few days due to non-payment. Tenants were forced to use generators to keep their businesses open while an arangement was worked out.

Well, DTE cut the power again on August 30th. Tenants are once again caught in the middle of a dispute between the buildings former owner and DTE. Susan Lambrecht claims that the $100,000 owed to DTE is the responsibility of Northeast Commercial Services Corp., which she sold the building to and has since lost through foreclosure. Business owners have raised $42,000 on their own in an attempt to restore power while Northeast Commercial Services Corp. tries to work out a deal with DTE and the buildings new owners, KCI.

DTE has so far refused to accept the money raised by the building's tenants and KCI. It is demanding $57,000 in payment.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Downtown Historic Movie Palace Tour Part 4

The Detroit Opera house began life as the Capitol Theater in 1922. The 4,250 seat Howard E. Crane designed theater was the first to open in the Grand Circus Park theater district. It is another fine example of the Palace style. The theater went through many name changes through the years before finally closing as the Grand Circus Theater in 1985. Michigan Opera Theater Took over the building in 1988 and restored it as its' 2,700 seat home.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Downtown Historic Movie Palace Tour Part 3

The venue popularly known as the State Theater in Detroit was constructed in 1925 as the 3000 seat Palms Theater. The attached office building is still know as the Francis Palms Building. The theater was designed by C. Howard Crane in the Palace style. It was re-branded as the Detroit Fillmore on June 17, 2007.

The State Bar & Grill

Detroit Fillmore Grand Lobby

Detroit Fillmore Auditorium

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Downtown Historic Movie Palace Tour Part 2

Continuing on the Downtown Historic Movie Palace Tour, this all that remains of the auditorium to the Michigan Theater in Detroit.

The Michigan was built in 1926 by the architectural firm of Rapp & Rapp as a concert hall and movie theater. In the 1970's the theater hosted many rock concerts featuring the top acts of the day. It was during this time as a club/concert venue that the theater began to fall into decline. Finally, in 1976, the theater was closed and demolition began. However, due to problems with the structural integrity of adjoining office building, the main hall and lobby were gutted and converted into a parking structure rather than demolishing the theater completely.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Downtown Historic Movie Palace Tour Part 1

Preservation Wayne conducted their largest annual tour on August 18th, their Downtown Historic Movie Palace Tour. Here is a glimpse at the remains of the lobby to the Oriental Theater. The Oriental Theater was located on West Adams Ave. It was the only atmospheric theater ever be built in Downtown Detroit. The Auditorium was demolished in 1953 but the attached building where the lobby was located still exists today as the Park Apartments building.

Water Winter Wonderland has some additional, earlier photos of the lobby.

Ilitch Blocker Redux

If you recall, this past spring I speculated that demolition and reconstruction of the CC Bar was an effort by the owners to inflate the value of the property in order to extort more money from Olympia Development. Olympia has been buying more land behind the Fox Theater causing widespread speculation that this is to be the location of a new arena for the Red Wings.

I stopped by today to see if any progress had been made on the bar as work papered to have stalled over the summer. Far from there being any progress, the bar seems to be in a state of deconstruction once again.

While a new expiration date for the Red Wings lease at Joe Louis Arena has been determined, I am left once again to speculate. Have the owners finally sold out to Ilitch, or did the building inspectors determine some flaw in the construction that is forcing the builders to start from scratch?

CC Bar Pre- Demolition
Reconstruction May 2007
Demolished once again August 2007
May 2007
August 2007