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ZachariahDaMan

MCS to be demolished?!

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Coming soon, more parking in Corktown!

How man other empty historic buildings around downtown are there to be demoed?

Soon it will all be parking lots any way. Hurray! (sarcasm)

Sigh...Oh well...

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I hate to say it, but it might be time for the old girl to go. It really seems to be too far from downtown to be viable, and its creepy state of decay really gives Detroit a creepy vibe. I remember the first time I saw it from the highway, and it was shocking and disturbing (having never been in a city in as bad a shape as Detroit back then in the 80's).

Also, that comment in the article about using the depot as a shopping outlet??? :rofl: Turning a building that large into a shopping outlet might work in a fast growing area like Atlanta or Hong Kong, but not in Detroit.

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In a perfect world, the slumlord billionaire who owns it would properly secure and mouthball the building like what's done in so many other cities. Unlike so many of those owners, though, this man actually has the money where he doesn't need for this property to make money for him in the near-term future. He's even said, himself, that he's for its renovation instead of its demolition (if even his deeds have never backed those words up).

But, barring that, I must admit that the only other option, this time, is to put this thing out of its misery. A full renovation to return it to usage is out of the question. It'd be hard to fill 750,000 square feet of empty space in a single building in even a much healthier city. To do it in Detroit would be near impossible.

What gives me hope is that the owners spokesman said something very interesting, today, saying that they are considering a number of options to discuss with the city and made it quite clear that they may only tear part of it (probably the office tower) down. And, Council President Conyers despite her ridiculous idea of turning it into a shopping center also seems to be hinting at the fact that an option outside of demolition is possible.

If you want my opinion, I think they are doing this to scare him, and hopefully, he doesn't call their bluff. This thing is still very far from being brought down. Even under the best conditions this is still months off.

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I don't understand what is wrong with using the building for absolutely nothing. It needs no use, rather some form of maintenance and repair. You don't even have to heat it. I mentioned it elsewhere, but if you take the number of people who currently enter the structure without permission, multiply it by an admission fee of $5, you have enough money to put up plexiglas over windows on one whole side of the building. Even if you increased the admission fee to account for insurance, you'll still get plenty of visitors who want to see this place. I've heard hundreds (no exaggeration) of people say they've always wanted to see the structure, but the no trespassing signs are somewhat of a turnoff. Imagine if this place was open to the public, I'm positive even after insurance costs and other fees you can at least afford to mothball it and use it as an attraction until some great proposal comes way 20 years down the road. I know it's been said over and over on other sites, but if the people in Buffalo were able to save their terminal, I'm positive the resources exist in SE Michigan to do the same. If only the city can snatch away the property from Moroun and give it to a respectful group of preservationists and investors who will actually do something to maintain the building.

Believe me, I'm economically convinced demolition is the best answer, but for once I'd like Detroit to take a value based approach. MCS does not have to exist as a shopping center, casino, or even another train station. I also don't buy the responses that it's a symbol of decay of the city. The fact that it gets so much attention is because it's interesting, and like nothing the public typically sees....this is a good thing. Really, the more Detroit demolishes, the less I think of it as a real city concerning the physical aspects.

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Is there a cost effective way to demo the tower with harming where the true beauty is in this building; the first few floors? I know people admire the height and massing of the tower, but everyone further examines what was known as the "Depot Esplanade" (the marble floors, limestone, etc.). With the bottom floors intact pieces could be in place if Detroit - or Corktown for that matter - were to ever comeback you could retrofit growth onto the MCS where the tower once stood.

If there is a way to dump the tower with minimal harm to the structure or extra cost to the project this is their best compromise, but I'm not a demo project guy who knows those details.

Commercial/mixed use would make the place look great, but how do you convince the 'Burbs to ignore the homeless in Roosevelt Park to shop, etc.?

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The strategy to sacrifice the tower and keep the rest as a solution is somewhat of an urban legend. The reality is that it's not even feasible to demo the tower, while preserving concourse and waiting room. Furthermore, it's actually more practical to spare the tower and dump the concourses which are expensive to heat and difficult to fill....of course, there's no way to spare only the tower without being left an architectural disaster on the lower floors.

I want this building preserved in entirety. If I was offered the option to completely demo it or save just the lower floors, I would say demo the entire building.

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The strategy to sacrifice the tower and keep the rest as a solution is somewhat of an urban legend. The reality is that it's not even feasible to demo the tower, while preserving concourse and waiting room. Furthermore, it's actually more practical to spare the tower and dump the concourses which are expensive to heat and difficult to fill....of course, there's no way to spare only the tower without being left an architectural disaster on the lower floors.

I want this building preserved in entirety. If I was offered the option to completely demo it or save just the lower floors, I would say demo the entire building.

wolverine,

After I made mention of it to a few people they said it was an urban legend like you said. Unless, you could fund a "ton" of people and their beer money for being responsible for each individual brick and not harming the structure below... which is a pipedream.

Sadly, I think the only way this building gets saved is to raze some part of the existing structure, if at all. I think it's tombstone is currently being produced.

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Believe me, I'm economically convinced demolition is the best answer, but for once I'd like Detroit to take a value based approach. MCS does not have to exist as a shopping center, casino, or even another train station. I also don't buy the responses that it's a symbol of decay of the city. The fact that it gets so much attention is because it's interesting, and like nothing the public typically sees....this is a good thing. Really, the more Detroit demolishes, the less I think of it as a real city concerning the physical aspects.

There is a select small tiny group of people who find the MCS interesting and fascinating. I'm probably one of them. The rest of the world thinks it's a stark symbol of decay and neglect. It would be much more interesting to me if it were in some former soviet bloc country, or in North Korea.

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I don't agree with that statement. I believe that anyone who has some interest in older architecture would find the building interesting and would prefer to see some future for it. As decades pass, its importance and meaning to America's past will make this building even more significant.

It must be understood that the situation regarding this building is extremely complicated and unique. Had it not been in the hands of Mr. Moroun, it may have sustained less damage and had a better chance at renovation.

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To be honest, I don't think the situation is all that complicated. I think the difference between this and say the Buffalo Central Terminal is little more than a single, slumlord billionaire. I personally wouldn't say it may have sustained less damage; I feel confident is believing that it would have sustained less damage. Unlike say a Book Cadillac, this towers location means that it couldn't be tucked away and hidden amongst other rotting structures which to me says that no other owner but someone as rich and comfortable with his life as Matty would have allowed to let something like this deteriorate to such an extent. No, not even a Mike Ilitch would have allowed something so prominent to turn into an honest-to-goodness modern ruin.

It really is nothing short of amazing that Matty wouldn't be absolutely embarrassed to have this thing be the first major building you see coming in from Canada, or all places, and that he'd allow it to fall into such a ridiculously deteriorated state. We're not talking about some that couldn't afford to at least brick up the ground floor. It really speaks to his character, his galling and audacious apathy.

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I mean complicated in the matter that we are dealing with Matty Moroun. I would not know where to begin to get this property out of his hands. He's obsessed with his potential of land ownership near the border...the building is meaningless to him unless there is some sort of unseen benefit that may come way. I really don't believe this building is going to be demolished, instead continue to rot even further. But since the city has made recent threats, it's a perfect opportunity to discuss what should be done.

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This is one that really kills me. I disagree with GRDad that there isn't a lot of interest in this building; quite the contrary, I think there is a tremendous amount of interest in saving this beauty. The problem is not so much that people don't want to see the building restored, it's more a question of how can it be restored in a cost feasible manner. Had this process started 20 years ago, it would have had a chance. Now, though, with the condition of the building, the piss poor economy, and the prevailing attitude of "let Detroit die" that is coming from all corners of the country, nobody would be able to make the numbers work.

The Book Cadillac took what, almost $300 million to restore it? While it was in bad shape, it was nowhere near as bad as MCS, and it had a MUCH better location. Were the MCS located in the heart of downtown, I don't think there is any question that it would have been saved.

Let's face it, the frozen homeless guy found in the basement this winter pretty much sealed MCS's fate. The bad publicity from that incident made Detroit look even worse than it already did, and the Council sure as hell wasn't going to risk another incident. Moroun is an asshole and should be forced to light the fuse for the demo from inside the building, in my humble opinion, but it doesn't matter... the building is going to go.

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The dead man was found in the neighboring Roosevelt Warehouse, but it may as well have been in the MCS as far as everyone's concerned. Yeah, the MCS is simply the most visible of Moroun's Empire of Ruins.

That he has allowed it to fall to this state pisses me off, because he's essentially gotten it to the point of where only a select few developers in the entire nation could take it on, and that select few gets even smaller when you think about those that would voluntarily take on such a project. Through his gross and blatant neglect of the property he's essentially doomed the building to demolition either by letting nature begin to take its course or by forcing the city to do something.

Wolverine, I just have to call you on one point and that's about the issue of feasibility of demolishing the tower and saving the concourse. If you're talking purely about money, it wouldn't make much sense, but given that just about every major renovation project in the city is heavily subsidized in some way by multiple levels of governments, it's not really far fetched. The concourse practically screams "museum". In my vision, I see the Detroit Historical Museum and something like MOCAD filling most of the space, or the creation of a new museum. I've been to the Musee D'Orsay in Paris which was carved out of an old, historic train station, and their is no more creative use of a space that I've seen than that.

But, back on my point, that a redevelopment project for the station makes a butt-load of money from the get-go doesn't have to be and shouldn't be a prerequisite, especially given that few major redevelopment projects in the city have been instant money makers. We shouldn't hold this one to any higher a standard.

I'm just saying that we don't have to think about this ultra-conventionally given that renovations in this city have been more about will than true feasibility. If it was about feasibility, we wouldn't have a renovated Book Cadillac and Fort Shelby, because, to be honest, neither of those made much financial sense. You can bet Ferchill is still living off the savings he received for renovating the B-C.

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The dead man was found in the neighboring Roosevelt Warehouse, but it may as well have been in the MCS as far as everyone's concerned. Yeah, the MCS is simply the most visible of Moroun's Empire of Ruins.

Wolverine, I just have to call you on one point and that's about the issue of feasibility of demolishing the tower and saving the concourse. If you're talking purely about money, it wouldn't make much sense, but given that just about every major renovation project in the city is heavily subsidized in some way by multiple levels of governments, it's not really far fetched. The concourse practically screams "museum". In my vision, I see the Detroit Historical Museum and something like MOCAD filling most of the space, or the creation of a new museum. I've been to the Musee D'Orsay in Paris which was carved out of an old, historic train station, and their is no more creative use of a space that I've seen than that.

Well, there was also a dead body in the basement of MCS that was finally reported in August of 2007. It had been rumored for months, but no one actually made the effort to search. The basement is a vast confusing maze of rooms and halls, and being completely dark likely easy to miss.

As far as the tower, the reason why I see the scenario so far fetched is because the tower is the most durable and stable structure if we were to refer to the entire building as an "assembly." I don't think people understand the difference between conditions of the lower structures vs the tower, or that each are of entirely different construction. Removal of the tower isn't giong to go like the Statler demo where the building is taken down in pieces. We are talking heavy reinforced concrete construction that will require heavy machinery and produce a lot of vibration. It's like taking a sledge hammer to a brick wall around a glass window. I'm skeptical the process of the tower removal + the renovation of the lower floors is not even any more cost effective than renovating the lower portions + stabalizing and mothbolling the tower.

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Could you reword that last sentence? It's a bit confusing.

My only point was that I'd like to see the whole thing reused, but from an architectural preservation standpoint, the tower is the least impressive of the two parts. Looking at it from pure utility, yeah, the tower is the only easily useful part of the thing, but coming back to looking at it from a preservation standpoint, if they are going to demolish the concourse, they might as well take the whole thing down.

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Renovation won't be cheaper through removing the tower and saving the rest. It would require a different strategy of demolition.

You can either renovate the whole building or demolish it entirely. There is no partial preservation of MCS. That's not even an option to consider in this situation.

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Is the strategy of demolition right now implosion?

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Nevermind the last comment, it was general anyway.

It appears the strategy and the enforcement of the demolition will come to light with a report on April 28th. Stay tuned.

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I can't possibly tell all of you how mad I am right now. The MCS is my favorite building in all of Michigan. So much beauty is in that building and all it needs is the right set of economic and social conditions to get it reused. The city has very little right to use public stimulus money to tear down a privately held building. Also, it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places so I assume that it would be much harder to accomplish the city's goal.

One more thing. After yesterday's announcement that the president is onboard with high speed rail, there should be an open debate on the possibility of reopening this building back up as a train station. One of the regions that is considered for the federal funds is the midwest with Detroit being one of the cities on the list. Why tear down a perfectly good train station when you will need one for a high speed rail terminal. Also, we'd be saving a piece of our history.

The facebook page I am putting together on that idea here. If someone would like to be an Administrator with me on the page, just let me know.

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The city and state would first have to show interest in funding a lease for the rail line to the station, because they no longer use that rail, just to even begin to talk of reusing the station for passenger rail service.

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A proper use cannot be found for the Michigan Central Station, and it will have to be imploded if Stanley Christmas's lawsuit is unsuccessful. They should build a major development on the site which nvolves improving the street grid in its neighbourhood.

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Yesterday I noticed some work going on infront of MCS, does anyone know what they are doing?

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They are redoing Roosevelt Park. On my way back from Canada today I was stock in a traffic jam on Vernor. I noticed the police were yelling at people trying to go inside.

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