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wolverine

Abandoned building of mystery

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This six story building is located in downtown Saginaw and is built right up to the river. I have no idea what its original purpose was, who owns it, or what future plans are for it. I called the city about it, and they didn't have much info on it. I figured I would head to Barnes and Noble after I took pictures of it to find more info. There, I found a book with photographs of Saginaw. Apparently what was once on the site, was the "Ford Headquarters for truck and car parts" I was kind of confused, since I never thought Ford really ever had a presence in Saginaw let alone having the word "headquarters?" Well, anyway, that building was only 3 stories, but of the same architecture. A few months after it was built, it burned. All the book said, was that it was rebuilt. And this building has very similar architecture as the original building. I wondering if the concrete frame of the building was salvaged, and the steel frame for the 4th, 5th, and 6th floor was built new. As you will discover in my photos, the building is missing floors. I hate walking into property like this, especially when I don't know who the owner is, but there were no signs, and the door was standing wide open. I figured the best research, would be found by going in

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To give you a perspective of where this building is, you can just see it along the river at the right side of the photo. After Bay City, renovated a vacant warehouse along the river, I'm thinking this city is holding onto to this building in hopes of it too being turned into condos and lofts.

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Well... the door was open. Funny thing is I pulled myself up that seven foot wall in front of a bunch of Japanese tourists that I didn't see standing on the bridge behind me. There was a lot of pedestrian activity downtown with a convention going on, and a visit by a bunch of Japanese tourists from Saginaw's sister city.

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Basically, the only thing I got out of this building was that it was used, or being used for storing junk.

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Like boats with holes in it. Broken elevators too.

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For an industrial building, it had some nice woodwork around the doorways.

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The 2nd floor

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Looked the same as the 3rd

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3rd floor again. This is where you will enter my loft apartment. The kitchen and dining areas will go back by that red brick wall. To your left, you can see across the river. I'm dreaming.

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Freight elevator shaft. For the building to be converted, the stairwell would have to go in the space, because of width requirements. The elevator would go where the current stairway is.

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The 4th, and kind of the 5th and 6th floors. I have no idea where they went. The floors were concrete since some areas had remnants of it left. But it appears they were deliberately removed. Possibly to create a high warehouse ceiling?

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This is where condo or loft conversion becomes a bit difficult. Those beams are kind of low. The bottom of them is about seven feet off the ground. With HVAC and other utilities running across the ceiling, residents wouldn't have much headroom. I wonder if this is why the building hasn't found a seller yet, if it's even sale.

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I suppose the brick portion could be removed, and the ceiling height increased to about 16 feet. The top floor has standard ceiling height from what I can see. A developer could build half floors in the area with the higher ceilings.

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That area up there has a high ceiling!

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View of alcove from the 4th floor.

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Heavy steel doors for the elevator shaft.

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The basement. This would probably never be used. It's below the waterline of the river. In fact, since the building is right on the water, the back basement wall is acting as a dam, and is leaking. You can see this basement has already been flooded many times

That's it. I hoped you liked it. Any thoughts?

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Interesting. It's a shame about the low ceilings on the upper floors. I like the idea of high ceilings, though. One good aspect is that there are plenty of windows. The views would be great.

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It's nice to finally see some photos from the inside of this building, since you've talked about it for so long. It's funny that you went in right in front of some tourists...although I'm not much better, since I came out of the Grande Ballroom only to find a crowd of 20 people waiting for the bus nearby, followed by a policeman who drove past.

Anyway, the building seems like it would be good for lofts - wide open spaces and lots of windows. I think you are correct about the 4th, 5th, & 6th floors being added on later. The lower floors are constructed with a steel frame, which was then encased in concrete, a very typical construction method through the 1930s. However, on the 4th floor and above the steel frame is encased using bricks. This would seem to support your conclusion that the upper floors were added after the building was initally constructed.

EDIT: I also notice steel floor trusses in the 11th picture. The steel floor truss is a fairly recent innovation. Before that, they used huge steel I-beams encased in concrete, like you see on the lower floors of this building.

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Very Nice Photos. The steel trusses look to be in bad shape. They don't have any insulation which I believe is necessary to keep them from deteriorating but it is hard to tell from the photos.

The interior of the building reminds me of the interior of Yoyodyne Propulsion Systems.

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Very interesting, I'd be curious to see how the upper floors looked while they were still intact.

This is just me, but I'd possibly convert the 5th and 6th floor in 1 1/2 floor lofts; build a loft within a loft. :P

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I doubt the upper floors were really all that interesting when they were intact. They were most likely very similar to what exists on the lower floors.

The loft within a loft concept as you call it is pretty cool. I have a friend who used to have a loft in an old meat packing plant in Detroit, and they built a second level into their loft to use as a bedroom. The loft only had 15 foot ceilings though, so the upper level was a bit short (about 6'6). The building is an interesting place. The only elevator is an old freight elevator, which is a manually operated elevator. You've probably never been in one of those, but there is no automatic landing position. There is an "up" knob & a "down" knob, and when you get close to the floor you want, you turn the "inch up" and "inch down" knobs until the elevator floor lines up with the floor you are visiting. I took it once and had a pretty hard time lining up the floors, which is probably why the very early elevators (say pre-1915) had elevator attendants who actually knew how to work them.

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1 1/2 loft concept was exactly what I was thinking. The main living room space could be the full height, where the bedroom would be above the kitchen. I just don't see why anyone is jumping on renovating this space. It has the best view of the river, and is right near a nice park where concerts and activities are held. The building also has its own parking lot right behind it. Apartment and condo space is in demand in Saginaw right now, otherwise there wouldn't be conversions going on all over town. But the buildings I'm seeing getting loft development in Saginaw are 3 blocks from the river.

I'm going to get in contact with Mr. Shaheen. He has done a lot of major rehabilitation projects around the city. If he were to convert this building, it wouldn't be his largest project, but would have the most impact downtown.

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That's where I left my boat :P Great pics Wolverine. I'm surprised that the homeless haven't taken over this place.

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I actually think they do. Just outside the door where I was standing is a bridge with a fenced in area beneath it. I think they all sleep in there.

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I just wanted to bump this thread back up. I think it's a really interesting one that I did 3 years ago and might interest a few tri-cities forumers who have never seen it.

I've gotten a bit more additional info since 2005.

The current owner would like to demolish it (from what I heard a year ago) and place new high density residential there, but everyone is pretty much against that since as many posters above state, the building would make for some interesting lofts.

At one point in 2000, my firm was looking at purchasing the building and renovating it into office space. We opted for another building downtown that had a higher value of preservation.

The building has been resealed with concrete since these photos were taken. I'm sure not much has changed.

I'm currently working on a personal project (learning how to create interior 3d scenes w/ lighting). I'm using this building because I have measurements and it would make for some cool looking lofts.

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I just wanted to bump this thread back up. I think it's a really interesting one that I did 3 years ago and might interest a few tri-cities forumers who have never seen it.

I've gotten a bit more additional info since 2005.

The current owner would like to demolish it (from what I heard a year ago) and place new high density residential there, but everyone is pretty much against that since as many posters above state, the building would make for some interesting lofts.

At one point in 2000, my firm was looking at purchasing the building and renovating it into office space. We opted for another building downtown that had a higher value of preservation.

The building has been resealed with concrete since these photos were taken. I'm sure not much has changed.

I'm currently working on a personal project (learning how to create interior 3d scenes w/ lighting). I'm using this building because I have measurements and it would make for some cool looking lofts.

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Yep, that was my firm. All I ever heard them say was they were interested in the building at one time, but it was extremely expensive to renovate because a lot of structural problems near the river wall. But it's still not an impossible building to renovate.

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Yep, that was my firm. All I ever heard them say was they were interested in the building at one time, but it was extremely expensive to renovate because a lot of structural problems near the river wall. But it's still not an impossible building to renovate.

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