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wolverine

Building Under Renovation Burns

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Located on Michigan Ave is this apartment building that was under renovation. Im not sure how much interior work was done. It seemed like not a whole lot last time I saw it, but the building appears salvageable. Hopefully a renovation can continue.

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Yeah, hopefully everything works out. Do they know the cause of the fire? Better not have been an arson.

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That's too bad. I just drove by it like a week ago while showing my friend around town and it looked fine :(

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I meant to post about this earlier, but I have been so busy between school and housework that I haven

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Mid-late 1920s. I don't know an exact year or architect off the top of my head.

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Sorry about your friend Allan.

I too hope that this building doesnt have to be demolished. Detroit doesnt need anymore holes in it.

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Good grief!!!!!!!! I've been following this one for a while too. It's such a one-of-a-kind project and something sorely needed. Especially for such dedicated, hard working, and committed people working on this part of the city.

MAD!

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You might not agree with me, but it seems so many buildings under renovations burn. Here in Farmington, we had two recent buildings that were stalled of renovations because of a fire, one of fireworks, and one unkown. I'm begining to suspect that the owners do this purposly for $$$. Same goes with this one. What do you think?

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Southwest Solutions is a very reputable developer, which has completed dozens of projects in southwest Detroit over the last 15 or 20 years. They are also currently renovating the Shirley Apartments on Woodmere. They've renovated quite a few buildings on Vernor and on W. Grand Blvd. over the years. They are one of the better developers out there, since they actually try to restore the buildings' original appearances. The people there do care about Detroit, and are not out just to make a buck like most people are. I have a hard time believing that they would intentionally burn down their own project, although I suppose it is possible.

Southwest Housing Solutions

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I'm avoiding saying that cause of libel. But yes the thought of that did come across my mind, only because it happens a lot in Detroit. But on this project, I think it was an accident.

Allan,

I know this is your hood and you'd have all the info on this.

It appears the facade is intact. None of it appears to be bowing outward, even at the top where it is the weakest which tells me there is still a lot of structural integrity to this building. It's a 1920's building so the facade is not load bearing, but attached to the structure. Also, many buildings of this time did pay attention to steel fireproofing and encased the steel in terra cotta block, then covered with plaster (also fire proof).

However, this is a building under renovation, and the construction mechansims in place to prevent fire damage may have been removed. I worry that this could impact it structurally. Have you been up close enough to observe anything?

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Allan, I too am sorry about Jeff. I only knew him through DetroitYes! Though I wish I knew him in person. He was an amazing part of the several online detroit communities and he will be missed. Please add in my condolences at the funeral home. I read you were attending.

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The facade is intact...at least for now. Tall brick walls can only support themselves for so long. Eventually they will collapse if something is not done to shore them up (see the Mid-Met lofts). The architectural details are obviously smoke damaged, and I'm not sure how well those will clean up. They are all new (they removed the original details and replaced them with exact replicas). It would probably just be easier to re-replace them.

I have a neighborhood redevelopment meeting on Thursday afternoon, and I'll let everyone know if I hear anything more about this project. I plan on getting up there one of these days to better survey the damage....

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I've had experience in the replacement of historical detailwork with my firm. The cast is usually the big expense of the detailwork. I'm sure they can be recast easily, and it should not be a factor since this building is insured anyway. I still don't think this facade is load bearing. Its still very dependent on the structure. So in the case "it can only hold up for so long" it wont if we have damaged steel, which I'm assming this building is framed of. There's no way it could be wood or the thing would have been a total loss.

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I've been in dozens and dozens of apartment buildings similar to this, and I can tell you that a surprising amount of them (almost all, in fact) are constructed of load bearing masonry. There aren't many out there with much structural steel in them...not until you get to the buildings that are over 4 stories in height. The typical construction is load bearing masonry with wood framing for the floors, roofs, etc.

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Okay, I'm going to agree with you for now. Upon closer examination of my photos I see that there is indeed terracotta block in the walls on the interior. But their location is irregular. Note how the walls don't continue all the way to the first floor. There's no way that this could be a load bearing masonry structure with wall systems that irregular. However, I don't see any steel members topping of the building. Even with extreme distortion from fire damage, you would still be able to see them clearly in the photos. So I'll go with you that is building is in fact load bearing masonry in construction. I guess I need to see more to determine.

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ZachariahDaMan, one is on orchard lake and 10 (former bowling place), supposedly burned down by fireworks on July 4th. The other is on Mooney St and Grand River. It's being renovated into a church. I have a hard time believing that a priest would intentionally burn down his own building and lie about it, although it's possible.

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I talked to some people at our neighborhood revitalization meeting this afternoon, and they said that the building was damaged by the fire on all 4 levels. The fire was apparently started by an acetylene torch that exploded, but fortunately, nobody was hurt. Southwest Solutions is disappointed by this setback, but they are going to continue with the renovation of the building.

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Sometimes the cause of such explosions is when people use WD-40 on the screw connections for the tanks when the valves stick. Never put oil on those things, although I don't know if that's what caused it. But those kind of things don't just explode on their own.

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Right. I don't know if it was leaking, or what really happened. It's all just speculation...I don't think anyone knows. All they do know for sure is that the fire was caused by an explosion.

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I grew up in this building. My grandfather & father managed it in the 70's. We lived in Apartment 101.

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The funny thing is, I had an urge to look it up tonight, and I found this. :cry:

Thank you for all of the information.

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