Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Detroit, a Series of Tubes

You may be familiar with the shiny tubes that traverse Jefferson and Randolph avenues.  You may have even used one of the tubes that link the JLA garage to Joe Louis Arena and Cobo Center. There's even one that links the St. Regis Hotel in Detroit's New Center to Cadillac Place. Yes, Detroit seems to have its fill of human habitrails, but the city is about to get one more.

The Greektown Casino already has one skywalk linking it to a garage, but one just isn't enough.  It seems that the casino's valet service isn't fast enough.  The casino, which didn't have enough money to build out the performance space it was required to when its original license was granted, is going to build a valet parking garage behind Monroe Street. The reason?  The casino wants to cut the time gamblers have to wait to flee the city from 20-30 minutes down to 5-7 minutes.

This reduction in vehicle retrieval time does not, however, come without a cost.  In order to facilitate a speedy escape, Greektown plans to demolish a building containing one of the oldest restaurants in the city.  The Laikon Café was established in the 1920's and the current owners held a 10 year lease on the building.  However, a dispute over that lease forced the restaurant to close, allowing the casino to purchase the vacated property.  In the building's place, the casino will build yet another skywalk across Monroe linking the casino to the new garage.

One of the main selling points for allowing to casino to remain at its temporary location was that it would be integrated with the neighborhood, building synergy.  Instead, with this latest skywalk, Greektown will become a little less greek and foot traffic will be further reduce as customers, along with their winnings, are "tubed" from the casino to their vehicles without ever having set foot upon a city street.

At least the crater that used to be New-Hellas Restaurant has finally been filled it.  Unfortunately, this was only done to create a staging area for the new construction.

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