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Allan

Donovan Building to be Demolished

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For some time now rumors have circulated that the Motown Building was going to be demolished. Back in the middle of December one of my friends told me that the Motown Building was scheduled to be demolished. We had a bit of a debate, but he insisted that what I thought was restoration was actually an asbestos abatement in preparation for demolition.

Apparently, he was right on the money. According to DetroitFunk, the Sanders Building will meet its date with the wrecking ball on January 15th. The plan is to have Sanders and Motown gone in 6 days.

I'm incredibly frustrated right now. The Motown Building was always a cool place to explore, since there is an incredible amount of stuff left in there from the 1960s & 1970s. It seemed like an ideal candidate for an adaptive reuse project. All the important original details are/were left intact (i.e. the Lobby & first floor ceilings) & it had good views. Structurally the building is in excellent condition. The only real drawback is its location next to I-75, but that could have been solved with better windows to dampen the sound.

Oh well, the Donovan Building lot will make a great gateway to the revitalized downtown Detroit! :rolleyes:

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i've always legitimzed the whole super bowl cleanup thing by comparing to preparing for a big party... the whole house gets cleanup... maybe you buy some new furiniture, some new artwork, etc... everything gets a little attention.

it would seem that we are now in the part of the party preparation where you start stuffing things behind furniture and under beds... can't fix it in time, might as well bulldoze it.

what a shame...

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Apparently it was "too costly" to renovate the building, but I believe that the Motown Museum will still be located on that site.

Hopefully they'll replace it with something great.

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If by great you mean an empty gravel lot...

Well, no. I mean a great building that will house the Motown Museum.. er.. Center (Not Hitsville USA).

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Keep wishing. If people should learn nothing else from this city it's that structures (besides parking structures) rarely come to recently demolished buildings site. Unless there is a financed plan for the site before hand, it is almost irresponsible to think that something besides a parking lot is going on the site anytime within the next 5 years.

There are literally 4-5 giant, empty lots directly north of these two structures. If you think tearing these down somehow creates more demand for the site, or makes it more attractive to developers, people are dreaming.

Wishfully thinking, I hope we at least see some type of Ellington-style lofts buildings set up on these many vacant lots so near to downtown, but that is still years off, it seems.

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I'd hope for something a little stepped up from the Ellington. The Ellington would have been good five years ago. We now know that urban living is just as in demand in Detroit as it is in just about any other city.

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"If there's a will, there's a way", ie Book-Cadillac. There is no will for this building. There's also no legitimate excuse that rehab is too expensive. If that was the case, then the Book-Cadillac will soon be demolished as well.

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"If there's a will, there's a way", ie Book-Cadillac. There is no will for this building. There's also no legitimate excuse that rehab is too expensive. If that was the case, then the Book-Cadillac will soon be demolished as well.
I couldn't agree more! It is possible to save any building. Granted, it might cost a fortune, but it is possible. If the houses in Brush Park can be renovated, than so can the Motown.

I'm getting the impression that the new owner of the building & the adjacent Sanders Building had planned to put a few bucks into fixing up the buildings, found out that it was going to cost more than he was willing to put up, and decided to just have them taken down. If he actually cared, the buildings would've been sold to someone who really wanted to renovate them.

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Detroit has far too many slumlords looking to make a quick buck off of the city without any regard for the health of the city. There are very few that have the will to preserve and renovate. The city should seriously consider taxing land like they tax buildings. Why would a slumlord want a vacant property on his land if he knows that an empty or underutilized lot could bring him big bucks in the future, or in the case of an underutilized lot (parking) he could make a quick buck while paying minimal taxes?

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From the DetroitYES thred on the same subject I got the impression that the Sanders building was being demolished because it is beyond saving (or "too far gone") which is questionable - but the Donovan building was being demolished "just because" or only because they might as well demolish both. I can't really judge if one is in worse shape than the other.

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I had hoped that they'd keep the building, of course. The building looks in far too good of shape to be considered for demolition.

However, I remain optimistic about this site b/c I (through my work) had been involved with folks behind the Motown Center project. I know it's a bit slow going, but I believe that the project's still alive.

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I still don't agree that anything that goes up at that corner will look better than a restored Donovan building.

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I'm just worried something small will go up on the site. There was once this continuation of the canyon of buildings down Woodward. We lost the last of the East side of it with Carmell Hall and Wolverine Tower. What did we get? A bunch of lowrise rowhomes. It was an attempt to be remniscent of the homes that existed in Brush Park, but unfortunately Crosswinds didn't read their history books and built what they felt would work best for the area. Not that they are bad or anything, it's just Detroit doesn't look like a big city anymore with such a loss in density.

I feel this is why people are so skeptical of the Motown site. Dang, even one of my instructors for Hamilton-Anderson which is a part of that project was somewhat skeptical.

I'm just curious as to why it's being torn other than hiding an abandoned building from the public eye. With no concrete plans for the site and preservation efforts moving ahead on a lot of buildings.

And why the heck would the city of Detroit even bother to tear this building down? That costs money.

I, and a lot of other people wonder why Detroit bothers to tear down buildings in the first place. There are plenty of houses in the neighborhoods that should be demoed because they harbor drug and other criminal activities. Not to mention, some are set afire which endanger other homes nearby. That is what should be torn down, not some prominenent and historical building downtown that has potential. Motown records, Albert Kahn, Sanders? Demolition makes me sick.

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AFAIK the city isn't demolishing the as they don't own it. The extent to Berru Gordy ownership is bit cloudy, but I never heard person mentioned when I came ownership. That was the major reason that site was selected for the Motown Center because land was already secured.

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Sanders demolition has started. It'll be gone by the end of this weekend.

Sanders was the last sizeable Art Nouveau building in Detroit.

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I took extensive photos of the two buildings yesterday and will go back tomorrow. The Sanders will probably be mostly rubble after today.

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I just got back from the demo site. 1-2 more wacks out to do it for Sanders. I took a chunk of terra cotta since nobody was around. I would've taken more, but it was cold and it was hard enough walking the 4 blocks to my car with my camera, tripod, camera bag, and massive chunk of building.

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Here's what's left of Sanders as of about an hour ago.

IMG_7329.jpg

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Why do I have this weird feeling that someone may save the Donovan before they knock it down? lol Probably just my wishing that it will be.

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It would be nice if they actually did save Donovan. It is a handsome building, in good condition, and serves as an anchor for the neighborhood, as well as the gateway to downtown.

I wonder if they cleared out the rest of the Motown stuff that was in there? If they didn't I guess it just makes my stuff more valueable.

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