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Lmichigan

Vacant building to be knocked down, clearing the way for Book-Cadillac growth

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I know this is going to help with the B-C renovation project, but it still doesn't make it any less saddening to me to see it go considering how there were other options, out there, to work around the People's Outfitting Building (Detroit Commerce Building), especially considering how good of shape it's still in:

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Forgotten Detroit - http://www.forgottendetroit.com/

Vacant building to be knocked down, clearing the way for Book-Cadillac growth

September 20, 2006

By JOHN GALLAGHER

FREE PRESS BUSINESS WRITER

The renovation of the Book-Cadillac Hotel got another boost Wednesday with the unveiling of plans to demolish a vacant office building next door in order to construct a new parking garage on the site to serve the hotel.

Plans for razing the Detroit Commerce Building at 150 Michigan Ave. were unveiled Wednesday at a meeting of the Detroit Downtown Development Authority. The DDA will fund the $1.4 million demolition using State of Michigan funds earmarked for such projects.

http://freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID...NEWS99/60920012

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More timeless architecture down the toilet. Buildings such as these are cityscape-defining pieces of an urban environment. Honestly, this doesn't need to happen. There are far too many other lots in the vacinity of the BC that are perfect candidates for garages. Afterall, the majority of hotel guests will be using valet. I understand the need for residential demand and that can be met onsite or adjacent.

Another sad example of the low standards we still accept for ourselves in the Motor City. The heritage is irreplacable, yet why do we keep finding articles, many national and international about how we can recapture our heritage or market Detroit?

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There are other options.....but whatever. I'd like to type a dozen pages hear why it should be saved, but what's the use fighting an uphill battle.

t I'm hoping one day we will see the death of some of the parking structures downtown for more innovative solutions.

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The only time when we see a garage demolished, at present times, is if they are going to replace it with an even larger parking garage. lol

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3 things come to mind right now:

1. There were other options. Build a ramp on one of several nearby lots, tear down other smaller less significant buildings nearby for parking, etc. I see a perfectly sized lot behind the Holiday Inn that could consolidate a large amount of parking in the area, including the BC. And if people are too picky to walk 200 feet, build a tunnel under Michigan or something.

2. Incorporate this building into the BC project somehow. Separate though idependant, it would seem that this building would be a great candidate for rehab. For all I care they can take down the Holiday Inn and put parking there.

3. If I see one more large building go down for parking, I'm going to lose it. The trend of people moving downtown for residential is one thing, but it just doesnt seem to be enough to save some of the nicest buildings downtown (Statler, ML, Detroit Commerce). Not that this would make an ideal residential building, but in my opinion, anything would be better than tearing it down.

I'm done ranting now. It just really bugs me that we're losing so many buildings for parking. Dont get me wrong, parking structures are important. They mean (in theory) that more people are coming downtown, but damn...dont tear down a perfectly rehabable building for it.

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3. If I see one more large building go down for parking, I'm going to lose it. The trend of people moving downtown for residential is one thing, but it just doesnt seem to be enough to save some of the nicest buildings downtown (Statler, ML, Detroit Commerce).

Though the rest of your quote covered this idea, this is the reason people WANT to move downtown. It offers what the rest of the region cannot. People don't want to live in a city built for the parking garage. Buildings may be thought of as insignificant when talking to the average Joe, but when it comes down to the "science" of city building, urban design both architecturally and spacially are HUGE! Unfortunately, parking garages do very little-to-nothing for that asset potential.

The DCB could have served as residential for that still untapped market for historic loft conversions of prominent buildings in the (what should be) exciting downtown core. The Metropolitan Building only wishes it had what the DCB has in terms of salvagability.

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Something else that bothers me is that no one seems to know anything about this pending parking garage, who will own it, who all will use it, how many parking spaces it will contain...nothing. I'd much rather know what was planned before going forward. That is, if there is even a solid plan for the parking in the first place...

Maybe, they aren't releasing the information, even, because it would allow critics to better pick apart the argument for tearing down the Commerce. Really, you never know.

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its too bad they want to tear down such a large bulding for a garage. all i have to say is that this ramp BETTER have retail in it.

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More typical short-sighted "thinking." Two steps forward, one step back, Detroit style.

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The ramp will be required to have retail in it.

Well, I guess one city in this world has to provide an example of what not to do. As much as I want to thank the developers of the B/C as well as other's for their work downtown, it's sad to know that these people will be looked upon as the destroyers and enemies of urbanism in the future. This all, from a broader perspective of what Detroit should have been. After all, Detroit doesn't have to (and shouldn't be) following the methods and rules of redeveloping the city in the past 30-40 years. There are other ways. Unfortunately, to do things right costs money...which we lack.

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Wolverine, I had forgot about that parking ordinances. Does it apply to all of the CBD, or just specific areas?

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Detroit does have ridiculous parking ordinances. I'm working on a project on the far east side right now, and the amount of required parking is ridiculous, especially when you consider that about 40% of the people living in Detroit don't own cars.

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No, I was talking about how all parking structures downtown are now required to have retail. I thought it was only for certain streets, but it may be for the whole downtown with a few exception (i.e. expansions of parking garages). This is one of the few things the planning department has gotten right, recently.

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The city is going to own the garage. It isn't being built just for the Book-Caddy, but also for future developments like the Lafayette and Various Cadillac Park projects. The city/degc dont want just a parking garage...they want retail on the ground floor (even if its empty) and they are currently studying residential above the garage.

The really crazy issue though is that the building may need to extend beyond the face of the book-caddy and onto the sidewalk of Michigan Ave, due to the depth of the site not being ideal for a econmical deck.

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Retail and potential residential is nice but this is going to be another building we are going to regret tearing down years from now. If the city is already going to have to cram this thing in after they tear down the building, why cant they cram it in with it? I just see this as being a huge mistake.

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Retail and potential residential is nice but this is going to be another building we are going to regret tearing down years from now. If the city is already going to have to cram this thing in after they tear down the building, why cant they cram it in with it? I just see this as being a huge mistake.

Yeah, that really does seem to be the question. If they already have to fit it on the difficult site, why not take it vertical (i.e. Merchant Row Garage)?

BTW, Archy, where'd you hear this?

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Yah, that kinda raises a red flag for me. I walked by the site today at lunch and noticed a big vacant lot on Lafayette (adjacent to the Lafayette Bldg) that would be ideal for a garage. It is the length of an entire block! All that would be needed is a skybridge connection through the Lafayette and either into the Book Cadillac or Detroit Commerce Building. If we had to put a skybridge into the Book, I'd rather have that than the destruction of the Commerce Building.

I would seriously consider asking the developer what it is I could do to protest against tearing down Detroit, despite my appreciation for the BC. Anyone know the tone of the Friends of the Book Cadillac group?

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Hmm...sounds like an idea. "Save the Commerce"...

It'd better be fast, though. They are planning to start demolition next month. And, though projects are slow to get off the ground, it seems demolitions are always right on track. uggh..

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The DDA has approved the $1.4 million loan to demo the People's Outfitting Company Building.

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Right, nevermind. I never bothered to actually read the article in the first place because I'm too busy to keep up on this stuff. As it is I'm pulling all-nighters 2-3 times per week again. For some reason I seemed to think that was some added information.

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...which will secure the redevelopment of both the Book Cadillac and Lafayette Building. As angry as I am with the demolition, it's not like it's being torn down for a surface lot that may or may not be used.

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Yeah it's pretty ridiculous that the cramped area they will have for the garage is the same size that is already available in the corner of the Book-Cadillac lot. :huh:

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