Friday, December 28, 2012

Nouveau Ruins?

A certain never completed Brush Park development was found exposed to the elements last month.  Construction began in 2007, but the site sits abandoned today having never been occupied.  How long will it be before it is reclaimed by nature?

Monday, December 24, 2012


The process of converting the old IRS building/MGM Grand temporary casino into the new public safety headquarters is well underway.

Saturday, December 08, 2012

Corktown Development

Unable to find a suitable location in Midtown, the Two James Spirits Company has settled on a location on Michigan Avenue in the shadow of the Michigan Central Station.  Owners Peter Bailey and David Landrum will convert a former taxi garage into a distillery and tasting room for their gin, whiskey and bourbon.

When Two James Spirits opens in early 2013, it will be the first licensed distillery in Detroit since prohibition.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Moving In

Earlier this month residents began moving into the completed Auburn development on Cass.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Next Door Neighbors

As Buffalo Wild Wings readies for its grand opening, it was revealed today that a Bagger Dave's Legendary Burgers franchise will be moving in next door.  T. Michael Ansley, president and CEO of Diversified Restaurant Holdings has announced that the company has signed a long-term lease for the restaurant to occupy the building that once housed Shaw's Grooming Center on Randolph Street.

Diversified Restaurant Holdings operates several Buffalo Wild Wings franchises in Michigan and it is the owner, operator, and franchisor of the Bagger Dave's chain.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Almost Done

Detroit's first Buffalo Wild Wings didn't meet its goal of opening in time for the Thanksgiving Day parade, but it's getting closer.

Sunday, November 25, 2012


With the completion of the redeveolpment of the David Broderick Tower, the owners have finally filled the gap between the tower and the neighboring building.  The adjacent restaurant space had collapsed in 2008 and was used as a staging area during the Broderick's conversion to apartments.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Eaton Beacon

Originally named Eaton Tower, the David Broderick Tower was fully lit for the World Series.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Line to be drawn over State Savings Bank?

Expect a new property fight in Downtown Detroit.  Andreas Apostolopoulos, the new owner of the Penobscot Building, purchased the neighboring State Savings Bank earlier this month for $700,000 with the intent on demolishing it for parking.

Apostolopoulos claims in an interview with the Detroit Free Press that:
 “Detroit needs parking, If we don’t have parking people won’t come downtown… We tried to bring some tenants downtown and the people are not coming because there is no parking.”
Yes! The one thing Downtown Detroit lacks is parking.

If the building can not be demolished, Apostolopoulos would look into maintaining the facade and incorporating it into the $20 million garage.

Fortunately, any demolition plans would face stiff opposition.  The 112 year old Beaux-Arts style bank is listed on the federal, state, and city registers of historic places.  Therefore, Apostolopoulos would have to demonstrate financial hardship and would have to try to sell the structure for a year before the city could grant permission for demolition. He could also argue that the building is blocking a major project that would benefit the community.

I would expect Preservation Detroit to get involved in this one.

Sunday, June 03, 2012

Garden Theater Revival

C. Howard Crane's 1912 Garden Theater on Woodward is receiving a $12.3 million dollar makeover. It is being renovated into a performance space with a capacity for 1,300 people. This is the third phase of the Woodward Garden Block redevelopment.

Monday, May 07, 2012

The Price of Progress

Soon after Wayne State University announced that it was converting New Center's Dalglesish Cadillac building into a $93 million biotech research center, the conversation quickly turned to what would be lost amidst the university's largest construction project ever undertaken.

Albert Kahn's 127,000 square foot building, which was built for Walter J. Bemb Buick-Pontiac in 1927, will receive an extensive rehabilitation and a 75,000 square foot addition.
Unfortunately, another Kahn built structure at the site will meet the wrecking ball.  Kahn's 1908 American Electrical Heater Building will be demolished this summer to make way for a parking lot at the development.

The building was renamed American Beauty Electric Irons after the the company's popular product line.  The firm was world renowned for its toasters, irons, curling irons and room heaters.  At one point the company was the largest manufacturer of small electrical appliances in the world.

An online petition has been started in hopes of preventing the demolition.

Back to Nature

This well intended but ill-conceived homestead, which was constructed in 2008, has been reclaimed by the St. Aubin-Chene Prairie.

Saturday, April 28, 2012


The missing bronze plaque dedicating the "Gateway to Freedom" sculpture in Hart Plaza has been repaired and re-installed.  The plaque was removed by the Detroit Recreation Department after it was damaged by scrappers trying to steal it in 2010.  It had been replaced with a construction barrel until recently.

Monday, April 23, 2012

What's Next?

What will the ultimate fate of the Ford Auditorium site be?  Mayor Bing would like to build a permanent outdoor amphitheater at the location and bulldoze Chene Park for redevelopment.  Obviously, a funding source would have to be secured first and given the current state of the city, that proposition does not seem very likely this decade.

In the meantime, it has been revealed that the Detroit Jazz festival would like to expand their footprint on the riverfront by erecting a temporary stage on the site.  This would be contingent on whether the city can convert the grounds to green space in time.  Some work has already begun.