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.