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lelandpalmer

DTE pulls the plug on Book Tower

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Well.....

That was long overdue.

Anyone want to join me up on the fire escape to take some pictures??

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BTW, this is probably the end for the tower. With no solid renovation plans, it may as well be abandoned now. I don't see how tenants can work without power/internet/phone etc.

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Well, don't expect these owners to sell this building anytime soon. I think they just moved to Detroit from NYC when they purchased it.

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Yeah, and the company that now owns it doesn't even have the finances to keep the power on. Forget a renovation.

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This isn't too surprising. I know they were about 2 years behind on their water bills, and probably just as far behind on the electric bills. There's no way that building has turned a profit in years. Of the 6 passenger elevators, 1 works...most of the time. The other elevators have had their motors taken apart to salvage parts so that they can at least keep one running. The building is running at less than 20% occupancy. Parts of the building are literally in a state of ruin. If you didn't know any better, you'd have no idea that it was an occupied building. Bathrooms don't work, windows leak, heat is broken. The building is a mess, and really does need a complete renovation to continue to be viable. Everyone always complains about the dirty exterior, but that really is the least of the problems.

There are renovation plans in the works, but I'm not sure how far along they are at the moment. I do know that they're moving forward, but that's all I know. However, I don't understand how the Pagans expect to renovate the place if they can't afford to keep the lights on!

The scary thing about this is that this is exactly how the Lafayette Building died in 1998. Unfortunately, the Book complex is much larger than the Lafayette Building, which means an even bigger renovation challenge if they don't get the lights turned back on soon and the tenants all leave.

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I'm sure thats the condition of a few floors, but for the most part, many of the floors are intact and clean. During the urbanohio meetup we went to nearly every floor. Fair shape is an accurate description of the building although, you are right about the elevators, only one is in operation.

Just some investment in the Book to keep things at least running smoothly would be enough. Just look at the Michigan Building on Bagely. It isn't spectacular, but the installation of a new high speed elevator, improved energy efficient lighting and routine maintenance has made it a well functioning building. Doesn't it have high occupancy?

But yeah Allan, I was thinking the Lafayette building as well. Basically for buildings that have their power cut, this is the end of the line. The Book is done. No tenants, no renovation plans, nothing but abandonment in its future unless a developer comes along and buys it off Pagan.

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Yeah, I was being a little overdramatic. Parts of the building are pretty bad though. I was there during a thunderstorm once and saw the rain just pouring into the windows. They all need to replaced/restored. The heat on the upper floors is sporadic. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. The lower floors seem to be better off as far as that goes.

I'll never forget the time I camped out in there overnight. Good times.

If they can't get the building back up and running, hopefully they'll at least have the brains to hire a couple of guards so that we don't end up with another David Broderick on our hands.

I do remember that the David Stott had a similar situation in the 1990s. Hopefully that happier scenario will play out here, but I'm not holding my breath.

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It does rain in the building yes, due to the lack of weather proofing along the windows. There was some standing water in a few of the hallways.

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With a renovation, If nobody gives this building a wash and paint and maybe some exterior lighting, I would rather see it turn into a surface parking lot.

Ok maybe not, but seriously though, it really makes our skyline look very old and sick. This is the most hideous looking usable building in downtown now, but could be one of the best, or maybe even the best.

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Actually, the building is one of the best symbols of Detroit IMO.....Dirty, decaying, and dying. Underneath all that grime was once a building of beauty and power, but its all gone.

I might as well say it in this post, because I know I'm about to get it soon.

I Hate to be so negative, but when the region is failing economically, socially, and politically, what are you left with? Abandoned homes and buildings, unemployment, disfunctional governments, closing schools, and dis-investment in just about everything.

A lot of people have known this for sometime, but giving Detroit a surface treatment isn't enough to solve the problem. A clean downtown, new parks, stadiums, renovated loft buildings, and some new retail are just a coat of paint over a large problem. When the surface beneath it goes bad (Michigan's economy) the paint flakes off. This applies to all cities, everywhere..although we have the biggest problem. Michigan has been in this situation before, but I really question if we will pull ourselves out of the hole this time.

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With a renovation, If nobody gives this building a wash and paint and maybe some exterior lighting, I would rather see it turn into a surface parking lot.

Ok maybe not, but seriously though, it really makes our skyline look very old and sick. This is the most hideous looking usable building in downtown now, but could be one of the best, or maybe even the best.

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I'd hardly call the Book hideous. It's just suffered from decades of deferred maintenance and needs about $35 million or so worth of TLC. You want to see hideous? Look no further than the Cheese Grater, the McNamara Building, or the Murphy Hall of Justice.

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This whole story seems false as hell now.

First off, I decided to venture to the D today because I needed some pictures of Jefferson Ave for a project. I stopped by the Book Tower shortly before it "closes" for the work day.

- All the lobby lights were on

- The hall lights were on ON EVERY LEVEL (although I can understand some are on for security, but still

- Numerous office lights were on, that includes unoccupied offices as well.

- All ground level stores had their lights on (some of them were even closed)

- All stairwell lights on

- All bathroom lights were on.

- I tried the lights in a random unoccupied office, and all the room lights went on..hmmmm.

In fact, there were more lights ON in the building than I'm used to seeing. I can understand that maybe the stores on the gorund level could be metered seperately, but the tower was far from being dark. I'm not buying that "plug was pulled." Why is the tower sitll lit up??

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Maybe they turned on the power again? Turning off the electricity usually prompts some quick action on the part of the owner.

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I'd hardly call the Book hideous. It's just suffered from decades of deferred maintenance and needs about $35 million or so worth of TLC. You want to see hideous? Look no further than the Cheese Grater, the McNamara Building, or the Murphy Hall of Justice.

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The Cheesegrater aint so bad. We all just like to hate on it because it is in such a prominent place. the Frank Murphy Hall of Justic is just out an outright disgrace though.

The Book Tower is one of kind. If I had to pick two signature buildings of Detroit, it would be the Book Tower and the Guardian Building. The Penobscot is an everywhere building, every major city has one, but not every city has a building like the Book Tower. I would caution judging it by the grime that covers it. After an intense powerwash, it would be remarkable. Incredibly elegant. It's current state is a result of poor maintenance and it's in a struggling city that lacks the resources to put forth the Book as a signature building right downtown. Like New York has the Chrysler or Chicago has the Wrigley Building, the Book could really be a prominent building for Detroit. If the region wasn't in such a sinkhole economically, there's no doubt the Book would be snatched up by qualified developers and renovated by now. The building is still very functional as an office building. I really wish people would cut the B.S. about it not being fit for such. Do people really think a small firm or professional office is really going to want to lease a floor that is the size of a city block? Absolutely not. I really hope this Pagan dude will get the ball rolling on this if he indeed does have the finances to improve the tower. By the number of times he got turned down for a loan, I'm not really sure I trust him or his company.

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Maybe John will buy it and convert it into a hotel with the top floors condominums and 1 million dollar penthouses. But yes I agree, this could be the best building downtown, even surpassing the Westin.

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The building is still very functional as an office building. I really wish people would cut the B.S. about it not being fit for such. Do people really think a small firm or professional office is really going to want to lease a floor that is the size of a city block? Absolutely not.

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Maybe they have a generator or something? :dontknow:

It's too bad this isn't working out. It would have been really great if it would. It still can though.

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The reason it is not fit for use as an office tower anymore is because of the lack of maintenance.

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I'm reading through all of the comments, and I'm just confused as to why no one is waiting to hear from the building owners, in the press, to make a fair judgement about the state of the building? Do you all know something about the Pagan Organization/North East Services (whatever the hell it's called) that I don't know? They certainly can't be any less wealthy than Ms. Lambretch. If I were to assume anything it would simply be that they may not be the best of property managers, not that they don't have the means to at least keep the thing running in its current state. And, as someone already made reference to, this also happened to the Stott back in the mid/late 1990's in a much more downtrodden downtown environment. Let's wait for more information before we start putting nails in the coffin. More depressing than the state of any city in Michigan, are those that love to deal in over-dramatics.

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Well, I'm not going to be upset with the new development company if the renovation were to fall through. It's a very complex puzzle, so props to them for taking a stab at it. But I wouldn't think DTE would lie about them not paying the bills. That's pretty embarassing for the owners. It also shows how uncomitted they are to providing good services to their tenants. I mean c'mon Pagan! I can understand no water, but no electric!?

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How can regular and important business operations just stop for those tenants? I hope this is resolved early next week, before we slowly start losing them and then the building is officially abondoned.

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