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Allan

Exploring Broderick Tower

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Continued from Part One

This room has some crazy pattern that has been painted on the walls.

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A blue room

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An empty corridor

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The Broderick's fire escapes are located on the interior of the building.

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This message was continued on the door, although someone has come along within the last year and smashed the door.

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An old cabinet full of things on the 8th floor.

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The Broderick holds the record for the number of paint colors present in one building. Here is more blue.

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An old office on the 10th floor

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A dentist's office

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Attached to the dentist's office is this work room. Bottles and dental tools are still here after all these years

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There are plenty of strange messages painted on the walls.

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WMZK used to be located on the 20th floor.

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Offices

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An old sink. And yes, that is snow on the floor.

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A Red Cross office

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Leftover paint from the mural cover the walls and floor of this room

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An old printer's office

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I thought this door was cool.

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The day was drawing to a close as I reached the penthouse apartment on this particular trip.

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The bar in the penthouse. This must've been a great place to hang out at one time!

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The mural of the cityscape was unfortunately destroyed last summer. Here is Broderick Tower in the 1920s, when it was the best-lit building in the world.

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Here is the next room over, which was apparently a living room, as evidenced by the fireplace and the couches.

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Please continue on to Part Three

Go back to Part One

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My friend and I were just talking about this tonight, actually. It would make for a great hangout on Halloween! I was hoping to watch the fireworks from the roof of the building this summer, but the renovation is supposed to begin in three weeks, so that's not going to happen. There is still a lot inside, as you have seen. Most of it is just junk, although there are a few good things left. The building has been picked over by explorers, and much of it has been destroyed by vandals.

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Hey guys, I am new here but I just wanted to say that what all of you are doing is awesome. You are all so optimistic about the city and so am I so I felt like I had to join and those guys over at the Detroit Forum won't let me join so this was my next choice. Does anyone know anything new about the BC renovation?

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All of the info I have posted on the Broderick comes from the manager at Tavern on the Park. He told me that all of the exploring I do in the building must be within the next three weeks because Hines will be moving the equipment for the renovation at that time. He actually just got the phone call about that yesterday. I am working to confirm the story. The original timeline for the renovation called for it to begin in one year. I was very surprised when he told me about the three weeks was all the time I had. The vandalism in the building had gotten to the point where Mike Higgins was about to install security cameras inside the building, so it's good to hear that the building probably won't sit there much longer.

The manager also told me that the state just kicked in $7 Million to get the hotel portion of Book Cadillac done by the Super Bowl. They will have double crews, so work will continue 24/7. He said it will start up in 1-2 weeks. I do know that it is guarded, because the gurad wouldn't let me in to go take photos from the roof. The new hotel would be a Hilton. Just remember, as in all Detroit developments, skipper's rule applies here too...don't believe it until you can walk in through the doors of the newly renovated building.

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Thanks for the info and you r toldly right about the until you walk through the door thing. By the way, they are bad mouthing you on the DetroitYes Forum about you posting picture of a building in that bad of shape. I would stick up for you but I can't post there. Its a private post.

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Thank you for letting me know. I have been following that thread very closely since its creation.

I know they don't like the fact that I posted these photos. However, it's not like photos of the interior have never been posted before. I can think of several sites with photos of the building. If people are going to vandalize it, they are going to vandalize it regardless of whether there are photos of it posted on the internet.

The good news is that they caught the two vandals who did the majority of the damage. One is a 16-year old from Lincoln Park. The other is an 18 year-old from Livonia. They are the ones who stole all the liquor and destroyed the penthouse. Up until July the penthouse mural was virtually untouched. The one guy accidentially left his wallet behind the last time they stole the liquor from the tavern. LOL. At least the manager got a free gift card out of it. When it was known as the Flame Grill, the bar had a different owner, and they would get broken into at least once per week.

As for the renovation, I am skeptical myself. Everything I know about the renovation aspect of the building comes from the manager at the bar. Anyone who is familiar with Detroit knows that it takes forever to get anything done. Mike did buy the building for $54,000 after David Broderick's death in the early 1980s. I have seen a copy of the building's title. Mike has been trying to renovate the building since about 1990. He was trying to finance the renovation himself, but finally hired Hines to take over the management and renovation of the building. I am working to confirm the story about the renovation. I was shocked when the bar manager told me that they were moving equipment in in three weeks. He had originally told me that we wouldn't see any activity on the building for a about a year. How the timeline for construction went from a year to three weeks is beyond me. It is my understanding that they are still finalizing the plans. There are a lot of little details to work out. It will take them several months to clean all the junk out of the building. They need to remove all the partitions, debris, etc., so they still have time.

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My friend and I were just talking about this tonight, actually.  It would make for a great hangout on Halloween!  I was hoping to watch the fireworks from the roof of the building this summer, but the renovation is supposed to begin in three weeks, so that's not going to happen.  There is still a lot inside, as you have seen.  Most of it is just junk, although there are a few good things left.  The building has been picked over by explorers, and much of it has been destroyed by vandals.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

that would have been awesome. on one hand i'm sorry that they are renovating it, but on the other i'm happy that they are renovating it. haha. i live in nashville and we had an old prison that was used as a haunted house that the police department put on. too bad it didn't live up to what it could have been. but anyways, why would those detroit forummers be badmouthing you for showing the pictures? is it because they don't want people to know that it's vacant? i'm pretty sure vandals can figure out if a building is vacant or not.

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I'm glad to hear that there are even talks about rehabbing the Broderick Allan, and thanks for the pictures by the way. I had NO idea how nice the interior of the Broderick is. Keep up the good work

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Wait...you mean Detroit has abandoned buildings?! You'd think after 50 years of white flight and decay that everything would be perfectly fine.

</sarcasm>

holla_back_youngn,

The reason the building is abandoned is because downtown collapsed in the late 1980s. Many downtown buildings, especially the older ones, had trouble attracting tenants as businesses moved out to the suburbs. Hence, they went completely vacant. Only now are many of the buildings being brought back to life as new apartments, hotels, etc.

There is snow in the building because many of the windows are broken or stuck open. The windows are 1920s originals in many cases, so they just don't protect the interior from the elements very well anymore.

The building is not allowed to be occupied above the second floor. There upper floors have open windows and debris strewn all over the place. They are unheated, and don't have electrical or plumbing that is up to date. The highest floor we've found electricity on is the 4th floor. Not to mention the fact that there is asbestos and mold up there. It's definately not safe for occupancy. The whole building's electrical and plumbing systems are out of date. They are worried that the first floor bar will loose electricity - that's how bad it is. As part of the renovation, they will be taking out all of the systems and redoing them. The building will be stripped clean, and will be nothing more than a concrete shell. Then they will section off the different floors into apartments.

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If they're going to be doing clean up work in a few weeks, I''m assuming they're going to have to close up shop on the Flame Grill bar for a while right?

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The bar on the first floor is now known as Tavern on the Park. When it was known as the Flame Grill, it was owned by somebody different. The Flame Grill was shut down due to health code violations. The manager of the tavern told me that he plans to stay open during the construction. The tavern can be totally sealed off from the lobby & the rest of the building, so it won't be much of a problem. They will be installing another door into the tavern as part of the renovation, since the manager is worried about what would happen if there was a fire inside. The entire floor only has that one door at the northwest corner. They are planning to take down the dropped ceiling soon. There is currently a lot of unused duct work & electrical up there, but he says that the ceiling is still in pretty good shape. The tavern is only open on Wednesdays and Saturdays right now. He used to open up for lunch at 11:00 AM, but nobody ever came. So now he generally opens at about 10 PM or so, although a lot of people really don't start to show up until after midnight. The only thing is that they can't serve food right now, since the hot water heater is broken. They ordered the parts for it a month and a half ago, but they still haven't arrived.

They just started redoing the website on Tuesday, but you can check it out anyway.

http://www.tavernonthepark.net/

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I contacted Hines Inc., and they refered me to someone else within the company. I am still waiting to hear back from him. I heard that the number listed for the Ramada Inn downtown is actually Mike Higgins' secretary. I will try that on Monday. So I haven't gotten very far yet.

It is hard to believe that not a word about this has been mentioned on the news or in the paper. At the same time, it is hard to believe that the bar manager made this whole thing up. He has seen the plans, and has offered details that people just wouldn't make up. He has even offered to get me more info on the renovation, like who the architectural firm is. A few months ago, before I met the bar manager or had even been in the Broderick, a friend of mine told me that he heard a rumor that Hines, Inc. was negotiating a deal to redevelop the building. This would make sense with the manager's story. I guess we will know the truth in a few weeks. I am inclined to believe that something will happen with the building in the very near future.

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It is hard to believe that not a word about this has been mentioned on the news or in the paper.

A few months ago, before I met the bar manager or had even been in the Broderick, a friend of mine told me that he heard a rumor that Hines, Inc. was negotiating a deal to redevelop the building. 

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

This was noted in Crains and the local dailies a while ago. The problem is that Higgins has announced grand plans for the building every year for about the past 10 years and it gets old. Remember the Post on Broadway should be ready for opening day of the 200? baseball season!

Detroit News 10-03-2004

In the coming weeks, Higgins said he plans to announce a renovation of the 34-story Broderick into 100 loft apartments on the upper floors. For the past four years, he has operated the 120-seat Tavern on the Park restaurant in the Broderick's first-floor space.

If Higgins sold some of his other "investment" properties (Cough Farwell Building Cough) he might be able to fund a renovation of one of his other properties.

Look for action from the Department of Administrative Hearings on prominent vacant buildings in the CBD.

I may sound harsh but to see some of the building/project developments happening and others just rotting is getting old. Look for some good projects that will actualy happen to be announced soon

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Welcome to the forum, ToolBox!

Mike Higgins originally bought the tower with the intentions to make improvements and lease out the space to companies. Unfortunately, downtown pretty much collapsed shortly after he bought it, and the tower was completely vacant by late 1985. In 1990 he finally decided that renovating the tower into residential was the best option. In the past, Mike refused to work with outside sources to help with the renovation. Mike has no money, and it is because of that that the building has sat vacant for the past 20 years. The problem with Mike is that he has these pie in the sky plans for his buildings, but no money to execute these plans. It doesn't help that most of the properties he owns are older properties. I don't even want to guess how much it would cost to insure the Broderick!

Mike has these crazy plans for the Farwell - I don't remember what exactly they were - but it was really out there. You'd think he would at least do renovations to the ground floor so that he is at least making some income off the building.

It is well known that Mike owns the Broderick, the Farwell, and the Ramada Inn. However, he also owns the Chicken Shack, the old Tall Ezz Shoes, and Club Bleu. Additionally, he owns another large downtown building which houses a bank. In all, he owns 75 properties around the world, although he is selling off his international properties right now.

It is getting old though. I completely understand where you are coming from. Mike Higgins does not have the money to fix it up, and he should have sold the tower to someone who did have the money long ago.

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It's good that Higgins has finally come to his senses about seeking out help. But even if Broderick goes through with his track record Higgins should get out real estate biz. Christ, when your most well know occupied property is marginal at best(Ramada) maybe it's time for new career. Mike should to stick operating his clubs which, as far as I know ,are doing fine.

There are some groups with great track record like DetroitUrbanLiving that's perfect for a building like theFarwell and I'm sure there's a company out there that has the money and know how to run a hotel.

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City Club and the space Mike leases out to the bank are the two so-called "cash cows" Mike owns. It would only make sense for him to sell off the properties that aren't making money. Then again, even the Ramada struggles to turn a profit. He pays out $6 Million per month in lawsuits related to just the Ramada. The man is lucky just to have a roof over his head. It is still amazing to me how he went from the richest 12 year old in the country to barely having a roof over his head. How does one even make that many mistakes? When he started loosing money you'd think that maybe he would've changed his investment strategy, but I guess not.

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