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Allan

Detroit from the Kales Building

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The Kales Building is an 18 story skyscraper built on Grand Circus Park in 1914. It was originally used as the headquarters for the Kresge Company, the predecessor to Kmart. The Kresge company moved to a new headquarters in Cass Park in the 1930s, and the Kales Building was rented out to various tenants. The building closed in 1986. The building is currently being renovated into apartments. The project is nearing completion, and the first tenants should be able to move in soon.

I was to left to roam the building freely, and I took over 75 photos, a few of which I will show here. I only made it up to the 16th floor though. :(

Kales Building from Grand Circus Park

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Crews just started repainting the lobby's ceiling last week

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The Statler Hotel awaits demolition.

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The vacant Park Avenue Building across the street was designed by Albert Kahn, just like the Kales Building was.

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The Masonic Temple dominates the Cass Park area in midtown.

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Broderick Tower, the David Whitney Building, and the Statler Hotel line the southern edge of Grand Circus Park.

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Statler Hotel

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Details on the Park Avenue Building

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Charlevoix Apartments. I can't really find much information out about this building. I know it was constructed in 1905 and designed by William S. Joy, but that's about it. The building is in very poor shape, which is a shame, because it is one of the oldest skyscrapers still existing in the city.

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Looking Northwest over the city. The elevator penthouse for the Charlevoix Apartments can be seen in the foreground. In the center is the Film Exchange Building. Behind that is the new Cass Tech High School. Finally, on the horizon on the right side of the photo, the green roof of Lee Plaza can be seen.

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United Artists Theater

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Looking north over the city. The Fisher Building can be seen in the distance.

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The old Cass Tech High School

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Iodent Building and Park Avenue Hotel

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Looking northeast over the city. The large roof in the foreground is the roof of the Fox Theater auditorium.

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Fox Theater

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Statler Hotel

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Book Tower

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Broderick Tower and David Whitney Building

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Boy, it sure is nice to see what they did to the Kales Building. No longer wasting away and a nice bright white again that I'm sure it hasn't seen in several decades (see for yourself.) Excellent shots!

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Yeah, it is nice to see Kales all cleaned up again. I'm even more excited about the retail. I've heard that the owners want to do 6-8 shops, including a restaurant.

BTW, for anyone who is interested, the Kales Building has an open house every weekend - just ask the guys out front. In fact, I may go back this weekend to take more photos.

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Nice pics Allan. Detroit sure looks beautiful in the morning.

Your pics of the Statler made me depressed however. Although there is currently still hope for that building thankfully. But I'm not holding my breath.

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Thanks guys.

Wolverine - I have lost all hope in the Statler. At the injunction hearing the judge declined to stop the demolition (see details here). Say "goodbye" to the Statler and "hello" to an ugly parking lot. Supposedly demolition will start later this month.

Brother Ray - I got too caught up in taking shots out the windows. LOL. The units are very nice though. The open house is from 12-4PM if you are interested in checking it out for yourself.

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I should scrap my interest in residential architecture and start designing parking structures. I'd be filthy rich, because I could stomp all over Detroit because it's so weak and helpless. Then, I can buy an oversized suburban home in some sprawly area of Oakland county and drive my car to work everyday.

Good God Detroit! What the hell is going on!

The demolition of the Statler has been close to the last straw. If I see the UA go down, that will be it.

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Nice pictures...the surrounding buildings have so much potential but it seems like no one is able to make the effort (or has the resources) to do something about it and redevelop it. I wonder what exactly it would take to go about doing that. There are so many things that need to happen for Detroit to become vibrant again - renovating and utilizing historic structures, attracting retail and entertainment options, developing the downtown neighborhoods, a viable mass transit system - but I guess you just have to pick somewhere and start doing things...

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The demolition of the Statler has been close to the last straw.  If I see the UA go down, that will be it.

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The Demolition of the Statler IS the last straw as far as I am concerned. I'm sick of the attitude of the people in this city. Downtown Detroit has become nothing more than a dense suburb. There are so many vacant lots it is disgusting. The people of Detroit have no regard for their city's history. Let's just tear down every historic building and put up a few more parking lots and parking garges without ground floor retail. That will really help the city's revitalization!

Let's see....so far this year we have lost the Freud and the Grand Trunk Building. We will probably loose the Statler too.

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Actually, I was thinking....

If the Statler demolition can be held off until January 1, 2005, the city won't get the free CMI money it is planning on using to help pay for the demolition. Then it will have to go back and find other sources of funding for the demolition. Since it won't be able to find any, it might then reconsider development options.

On second thought, this is Detroit. Even if a developer offered to buy the building from the city and rehab it, the city would still probably fight to get the building demolished.

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Well, if people can make demolition a bueaurocratic mess for the city until the Superbowl, it may still stand. It's unbeleivable how much lies went around about what was going to be developed. The city promised the NFL they would rehab these structures to get the Superbowl, and so only have a handful of buildings have seen it. Detroit is living in a lie.

Oh and by the way, wasn't there an article about having several of the buildings wrapped in advertisements for the big events coming to town? Why not do that!!! The owners can make money off the space, and we don't have to lose the historic structures!

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Actually, I was thinking....

If the Statler demolition can be held off until January 1, 2005, the city won't get the free CMI money it is planning on using to help pay for the demolition.  Then it will have to go back and find other sources of funding for the demolition.  Since it won't be able to find any, it might then reconsider development options. 

On second thought, this is Detroit.  Even if a developer offered to buy the building from the city and rehab it, the city would still probably fight to get the building demolished.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Great thought Allan, we will chan ourselves to the building :thumbsup:

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Great thought Allan, we will chan ourselves to the building  :thumbsup:

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And risk getting run over by a buldozer or smashed by a wrecking ball? I think not! Let Detroit destroy its historic buildings, but don't come whining to me 20 or 30 years down the road when everyone wishes they had saved the Statler and other historic gems.

Once the big machines start eating away at the Statler, I will have lost total faith in this city. It can't seem to do anything right.

DETROIT: The city that ruined itself for a football game.

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It didn't need the SuperBowl to ruin itself. It's been doing it for decades. The SuperBowl just gives the city a "reason" to.

In all seriousness, I think the SuperBowl has helped as much as it has hurt. If the SuperBowl wasn't coming I doubt we'd be seeing so many streets and sidewalks repaired and decorated, and new parks, and some buildings being rehabbed or at least being considered for rehab. I just wish there were some real developers around to step up to the plate.

Does anybody honestly think there's no market to renovate and occupy tons of buildings if our abandoned buildings just had a little TLC?

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Actually, Detroit was supposed to renovate its buildings for the Superbowl. When cities bid for bowl games, they have to prove themselves worthy for the event. When Detroit proposed its intentions to the NFL, they got the impression that Detroit was going to fix their city up, and gave them the game on those terms. Some buildings have been renovated, but others shown in their proposal are getting demolished instead of fixed up. The city isn't fullfilling it's promise, just breaking it.

I found the below picture earlier today. It shows Detroit at its worst moment. Just think about how much the city has improved since. There is definitely hope for the city, but sadly, a huge loss in history with the demolition of major buildings.

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That is an amazing photo. I ran across it a couple of weeks ago. It really shows how far we've come. The late 1980s was when the city hit its low point. Things have been improving since then, although sometimes those improvements are a bit slow.

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That is awful! Detroit will eventually fill in those spots, I am sure. It is a shame how much was lost when they demolished the historical buildings.

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The neighborhood in the foreground is Brush Park. In the 1880s and 1890s it was where all the prominent Detroiters lived. By the 1920s middle class residents started moving in, and many of the mansions were carved up into apartments. Eventually, poorer people started to move into the neighborhood, and it really started to decline. In the 1960s the city started buying up property in the neighborhood. At one point 40% of the neighborhood was owned by the city, and rumor has it that the mayor, Coleman Young, wanted to locate a new GM factory there. In the 1980s the tide started to turn, and people began fixing up some of the homes. In 2000, Crosswinds started building townhomes in the southeast corner of the neighborhood. They have also restored what homes they could. I believe 100 of the 800 planned townhouses have been completed. Most of the remaining homes have been snapped up by developers who plan to renovate them. Several of the streets between John R and Brush were closed to auto traffic somewhere along the line. I'm not sure why this is, but I believe that the streets will be returned to normal when the city overhauls the rest of the infrastructure in the area.

I'm working on a photo tour of Brush Park right now. I hope to have it posted by the end of the week. I would do it tonight, but I've been awake for 32 hours straight now...I need sleep first.

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Great pics of the Kales Building and the views from it. What buildings was the city supposed to fix up for the Super Bowl? Has the new deal for the Book-Cadillac ever been signed yet? Can we officially say it will be turned into a hotel?

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Great pics of the Kales Building and the views from it.  What buildings was the city supposed to fix up for the Super Bowl?  Has the new deal for the Book-Cadillac ever been signed yet?  Can we officially say it will be turned into a hotel?

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The Book Cadillac was one of the buildings. I don't remember what the others were. I think they were Lafayette and Statler, but I'm not sure.

We're still waiting on the Book Cadillac deal. Apparently the only thing holding up the deal is that they are waiting on a federal ruling about historic district tax credits.

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Listen the Statler is lost cause we instead should be focusing on buildings that be saved to like Madsion-Lenox. Face reality the building has been abandoned too long to point that city can't give it away.

Go over to DetroitYes there's an entire thread to this subject http://127.0.0.1/forum/messages/5/32385.html were someone who work for one those downtown development spell pretty clear that it's just not feasible

$40 million is not total cost, it is not the financial gap without incentives...it is the cost gap after all available incentives are calculated in. To salvage the building, somebody somewhere has to cough up $40 million in cash that they will never see returned.

Repeat: To salvage the building, somebody somewhere has to cough up $40 million in cash that they will never see returned.

Given the rate of increase of per foot sales prices in Detroit, it will take 15 or more years for sales rates to reach the level that would make financial sense to rehab the building. That of course assumes redevelopment costs do not also increase, which is highly highly unlikey. In the future (fifteen years out....maybe) that $40 million figure may possibly whittle itself down to $20 million. Does that mean there is anyone more likely to come out of the woodwork and flush $20 million instead of $40 million?

The Tuller site is owned by the Illitchs and is not a comparison to the Statler site as one parcel has an owner motivated to keep it vacant and one has an owner motivated to redevelop as soon as possible

I think it's reasonable to say that city has been willing to preserve buildings it owns when it's possible. Just look the Kales, Merchants Row and the Book-Cadillac. Has the city stop working to develop the Lafayette because it will still be empty come Super Bowl time? No, because it is a building that is still viable. The Statler is big loss but I don't it a good idea to keep the building for another 10-15 years

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