ericdriver

Rowe Hotel- Olds Manor

Recommended Posts

Tying together the themes of this thread - Olds Manor and GR nightlife. Is it practical to open up the main floor or two of the Olds for a nightclub/resturant etc. That would be a great spot.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


I was given a shoebox full of letters from my grandfather and one of them was written on a piece of hotel stationery from 1943. My Grandfather stayed at the Rowe Hotel September 10th, 1943 for a few days and apparently enjoyed himself there. I will attempt to post an image of the letter, in case anyone might be interested.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What kind of shape is the interior of the Rowe in? It looks like a perfect candidate for restoration, but I wonder what damage may have been done over the years inside?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

wow... if any building in GR could be a mall i.e. water tower place, this is it.

If it wasn't in the shape of an inverted "C" I might agree :)

rowec.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What kind of shape is the interior of the Rowe in? It looks like a perfect candidate for restoration, but I wonder what damage may have been done over the years inside?

I walked through it a couple of years ago. I remember a ton of dead birds and crumbling stairways/cement work. Again, it's been a couple of years, but I think there may be some structural issues???

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I walked through it a couple of years ago. I remember a ton of dead birds and crumbling stairways/cement work. Again, it's been a couple of years, but I think there may be some structural issues???

I may be wrong but I think I remember one of the reasons it was vacated was because of structural issues and it being unsafe for housing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I may be wrong but I think I remember one of the reasons it was vacated was because of structural issues...

I doubt it. They said that about the Milner Hotel and the City Center parking garage too. Everyone loves to blame "structural" issues for everything.

They don't build buildings anymore like they did back then. That building could probably stand a direct missile hit and come out just fine.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is one of my favorite yet-to-be rehabbed buildings in downtown. I'd love to see it utilized, but I just don't see anything happening here on its own. Now, if the Post Office (or even the GR Press) were to sell, then I think this gateway to North Monroe would really take off...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The issue that always comes up about why this property isn't redeveloped seems to be the parking issue. I swear, if this place were in the heart of downtown Chicago, they'd find a way to squeeze in a parking garage right in the area in green in this pic. I've seen some parking structures there where the walls of the ramp are scraped up so badly because the turns are so tight just to wedge the place into a narrow footprint.

569328754_d7f4599034_o.jpg

That is, if they didn't just demo the whole thing and start over.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Adding to my earlier theory that something is going on over at Olds Manor, there's now a pile of stuff in the post office parking lot which is fenced off along monroe.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A picture so mysterious, I can't even post it here :P :

>>> :ph34r:<<<

Rhino6885 also pointed out the new black tubing that runs down the back of the building from the upper floors (seen to the right).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The building is simply too good to waste. I hope they will be doing something significant with this property. Please keep us posted.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The building is simply too good to waste. I hope they will be doing something significant with this property. Please keep us posted.

After driving by this building for a couple a weeks (to avoid the traffic backup on both freeways) a thought came to me. Why not kill two birds with one stone. First take the first two or three stories of this building, and retrofit it for use as a new post office. Convert the following stories above the third floor to office space with possible condos on the top stories.

Then wipe out the ugly concrete block house that sits along the river and convert it to a nice green space/walking plaza. Maybe tastefully extend the western portion of the old Rowe to interface with this area to allow for creation of shop space. The same could be done on the north side of the plaza to cover up the existance of the post office parking structure.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

After driving by this building for a couple a weeks (to avoid the traffic backup on both freeways) a thought came to me. Why not kill two birds with one stone. First take the first two or three stories of this building, and retrofit it for use as a new post office. Convert the following stories above the third floor to office space with possible condos on the top stories.

Then wipe out the ugly concrete block house that sits along the river and convert it to a nice green space/walking plaza. Maybe tastefully extend the western portion of the old Rowe to interface with this area to allow for creation of shop space. The same could be done on the north side of the plaza to cover up the existance of the post office parking structure.

I believe there is a freeze on all Post Office fundings for moves/remodling etc because of the war. I thought when the restrictions are lifted they had thought about moving the mail sorting (large portion of the downtown office) out to the airport area. :dontknow:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I believe there is a freeze on all Post Office fundings for moves/remodling etc because of the war. I thought when the restrictions are lifted they had thought about moving the mail sorting (large portion of the downtown office) out to the airport area. :dontknow:

I think you are correct, DwntwnGeo, although I'm not sure that it's because of the war. I believe the local postal officials actually want to move to a larger, newer facility, that is closer to the airport and easier for trucks to get in and out of. There is absolutely no reason for a facility of this type to be located downtown on the river, just as the Grand Rapids Press did not need to be printing papers downtown. (Now if only they would move (and demolish) their offices too!) The post office probably only needs a few thousand square feet downtown for P.O. boxes and a customer service center.

I also seem to recall that the post office would actually come out money ahead by relocating and selling the building and property downtown because of their location. However, due to restrictions on new facilities, they cannot move, even if it would save the post office money and greatly help the downtown area. Governmental bureaucracy at its worst.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was peeking inside the windows yesterday and it is apparent that something is going on inside on the south side. The walls, beams, and ceilings are completely stripped down to the skeleton of the building, aside from one wall that has "DO NOT REMO" spraypainted on it. (Ironically, it seems the "VE" was removed.) Further eastward there is a brand-new electrical box with a new white paper sign on it (couldn't make out what it said) on a very temporary-looking wooden stand in the middle of the floor, with wires running somewhere up above. Plaster and debris can be seen littered on the floor in places.

The eastern portion of the building appears to be untouches... the chandeliers still hang, a few chairs still remain although some knocked on their side, and the wooden facade around the beams still stand.

The pipes coming from the top floor out of both fire escape doors are intiguing. They can't be for waste of any sort as they are rather small.. I almost wonder if they are there for pumping something out. Could the roof be leaking, perhaps?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think you are correct, DwntwnGeo, although I'm not sure that it's because of the war. I believe the local postal officials actually want to move to a larger, newer facility, that is closer to the airport and easier for trucks to get in and out of. There is absolutely no reason for a facility of this type to be located downtown on the river, just as the Grand Rapids Press did not need to be printing papers downtown. (Now if only they would move (and demolish) their offices too!) The post office probably only needs a few thousand square feet downtown for P.O. boxes and a customer service center.

I also seem to recall that the post office would actually come out money ahead by relocating and selling the building and property downtown because of their location. However, due to restrictions on new facilities, they cannot move, even if it would save the post office money and greatly help the downtown area. Governmental bureaucracy at its worst.

If I remember correctly, the post office was prohibited from moving before the war. It was in the GR Press.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Chris Knape has a few updates on this site. He had the chance to talk with its owner Dick DeVos this past week. The complete link is here: Chris Knape Blog. Here are some excerts from the post:

"The million-dollar question: Does he have any plans for it?"

"His answer (dramatic drum roll please): No."

"He went on to say he understands some people view it as a historic structure, but it's no Pantlind. As time goes by, the likelihood of restoring it becomes more and more remote, he said."

"DeVos said the spot could be another hotel. It could be condos. But don't look for anything to happen there any time soon."

"As DeVos noted the location gets better every day since it's one of the closest places for a new development to Michigan Hill."

Looks like we might have to wait a little longer for something to happen here. Maybe the Post Office will move and something large enought to fill the entire corner will be developed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm curious why he bought it if there are no plans for it. Maybe it was considered for the JW before the current location was chosen? Maybe he figured the convention center would raise the value of this property significantly? I think with NoMo filling in this property could be great for the transition into downtown as it looks like it could easily have many storefronts.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

... I think with NoMo filling in ...

NoMo! That's cool. Let's order us some banners!

[public hearing, citizens from the Delray 'hood in Detroit said, "let's call it Marina Delray."]

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.