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Allan

Madison-Lenox Hotel to be Demolished

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Wednesday, October 8, 2003

Downtown hotel to be razed next spring

Madison-Lenox demolition upsets preservation group

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By R.J. King / The Detroit News

DETROIT -- A downtown preservationist group is crying foul, but the derelict Madison-Lenox Hotel located a block from Ford Field will have a date with a wrecking ball by next spring.

For almost two years, the city has been working to clean up downtown in time for the 2006 Super Bowl at Ford Field. More than $100 million has been committed for replacing streets, providing loans to improve building facades and renovating some vacant structures.

A local preservationist group said Tuesday it has been rebuffed by the owners of the Madison-Lenox to inspect the building to see if it could be saved. The building is owned by Ilitch Holdings Inc., run by Mike and Marian Ilitch.

The Friends of the Book-Cadillac Hotel in Detroit helped put together the $146.8-million plan to renovate the vacant Book-Cadillac Hotel in Detroit into a 480-room lodge, with 76 penthouse apartments as well, by 2006.

The group said it met with Ilitch Holdings officials in August and asked to inspect the Madison-Lenox.

"After our first meeting with Ilitch Holdings, things went nowhere," said Francis Grunow, vice chairman of the group, which has more than 300 members.

Ilitch Holdings operates the Fox Theatre, Detroit Red Wings and Detroit Tigers. Last year, the company received a $700,000 loan from the Downtown Development Authority to demolish the Madison-Lenox.

Jay Bielfield, general counsel of Ilitch Holdings, said the company has determined the Madison-Lenox Hotel should come down. The hotel, built in two phases between 1903 and 1913, has been vacant for 30 years.

Walt Watkins, Detroit's chief development officer, said he would like to see new housing added to the site. "We can't save every building downtown, only those that make financial sense."

You can reach R.J. King at (313) 222-2504 or [email protected]

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Madison-LenoxHotel.jpg

Here is a link to the plan that Friends of the Book-Cadillac developed to show the Ilitches the hotel's potential.

http://www.book-cadillac.org/ml-proposal.pdf

The Ilitches will be receiving a letter from me about this building. It has so much potential, yet the Ilitches see it as a potential site for a parking lot, not as apartments or condos.

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is illitch honestly this dumb?

how can he not want more residents in his precious foxtowne district to visit his venues?

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is illitch honestly this dumb?

Yes. You'd think he'd understand that he could make a lot more money selling lofts than with a parking lot, and that the more people there are living downtown, the more likely they are to go to one of his entertainment venues. Even a second grader could figure that out. EVERYONE is missing out by demolishing this hotel...that is everyone except the asphalt companies.

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Detroit_alive posted this...The casualties of the pizza empire:

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it would be funny if illitch holdings had a demolition company and a assphault company. well not really funny, really sad actually

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We'd better not give Ilitch any ideas...he might actually get into the demolition business, seeing as how he likes to tear down historic buildings so much.

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In the thread over at the FabRuins forum, there are some pictures of the views from the rooms. They are gorgeous. It would be a crime to destroy the ML.

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Madison-Lenox:

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Views from the windows of Madison-Lenox:

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And why is this a bad thing? Tear this thing down and lets move on with something new. Detroit has many many more old buildings to save.

People need to move on and embrace "new".

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monte, i would not call a parking lot progress

detroit needs loft/apt space, and this is an easy rennovate job, which will turn a profit in a short time.......

look at illitch's track record, how many buildings has he saved in his land owning career?

ONE, one freaking building, while countless others sit empty and rotting

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And why is this a bad thing? Tear this thing down and lets move on with something new. Detroit has many many more old buildings to save.

People need to move on and embrace "new".

Nothing new could replace the quality and detail of the building that sits on the site today. And what sort of new building would Ilitch ever put on this site? He has no plans, other than a parking lot. Even if something did go on the site eventually, it would most certainly be some sort of a one story, big box type store with a parking lot, which would completely destroy the urban feel of the neighborhood. The hotel is also a neighborhood landmark. Detroit's historic architecture is its biggest asset. Once it's gone, it's gone forever. There is more than enough vacant land to build new buildings on. No more historic buildings should come down until all the vacant fields and parking lots are built out with new buildings.

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This related article was in the paper yesterday:

Tax credits spark historic renovations

Metro architect cites use of incentives in bid to restore buildings

By R.J. King / The Detroit News

BIRMINGHAM -- Over the past five years, new financing tools have sparked a wave of historic renovation work nationwide, including the $146.8 million restoration of the vacant Book-Cadillac Hotel in downtown Detroit into a 470-room hotel and 70 apartments.

Through the use of tax credits for historic properties, which allow developers to sell a portion of the development costs of a renovation project to investors, more vacant buildings across the country are being spared from the wrecking ball.

So says Doug McIntosh, principal of McIntosh Poris Associates, an architectural, interior and urban design firm with offices in Birmingham and Detroit.

"Just about any building can be recycled and redeveloped into a hotel, office building or residential lofts if it is structurally sound," McIntosh said.

"We worked on the Book-Cadillac and we hope to convince other vacant building owners to think restoration over demolition."

McIntosh said even the vacant Madison-Lenox Hotel at Madison and Randolph in Detroit's Harmonie Park could be renovated.

Last week, the owner of the Madison-Lenox, Ilitch Holdings Inc., said it would be demolished next spring.

McIntosh said he hoped to persuade Ilitch Holdings to reconsider its decision.

In a recent interview, McIntosh discussed the recent proliferation of historic renovation projects.

Q: Why are more urban buildings being restored today than in the past?

A:It makes more financial sense today to restore than tear down. There are more incentives today from the federal, state and local level for historic renovation projects than five years ago. When you look at the big picture, it doesn't make sense to tear down reusable buildings. Unless the building is too far gone, it should be restored, Why do people like to visit Europe so much? It's because they've saved so much of their history.

Q:How do you determine whether a vacant building can be restored?

A:Typically you perform an engineering and structural assessment of a building facade and interior. That's a good indicator of what kind of costs will be required. If a building isn't structurally sound, it likely should come down.

Q:What funding sources are available for historic renovation?

A:The federal government has offered up to 20 percent tax credits for some time, but Michigan recently added 5 percent to that, meaning you can qualify for up to 25 percent in tax credits. Other financing tools include an obsolete building tax credit through the state as well as a brownfield tax credit. Those are the four major financing components you can use, and actually we used all four on the Book-Cadillac.

Q:What about funding prospects for a non-historic structure?

A:There aren't any. There is a process to go through for getting a historic classification for a building, and it's a matter of paperwork. But once the government declares a building historic, tax credits can be used to save it.

Q:What are the benefits and drawbacks of restoration vs. new construction?

A:That goes to a whole character discussion. Old buildings like the Madison-Lenox offer a richness and texture that can't be duplicated. Because of the costs of new construction, you can't duplicate stone carvings and other ornamental details today. New construction does make sense when companies need large floors or has specific needs. Restoration also allows you to start with a shell, meaning you can start right away instead of building a new one.

You can reach R.J. King at (313) 222-2504 or [email protected]

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