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Detroit from atop the Pick-Fort Shelby Hotel


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David Kohrman, an author and explorer of Detroit's building ruins, recently put these pics of Detroit from the Pick-Fort Shelby Hotel on his website. There has been talk of converting the building into 2 hotels and condos, but I haven't heard anything about this in a while. I'm hoping that with all development that's currently occuring downtown, that maybe I'll hear something about the plans.














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Too bad it is in the shape that is is in.

The miners come in and takes everything of value out the the building. They rip the wires & pipes out of the walls to sell the metal. This is the case in pretty much every abandoned building downtown....the Slater Hotel, the Book-Cadillac Hotel, Michigan Central Station, and the various theaters. But as long as the buildings are structurally sound, they can be renovated. And usually enough plaster details exist to restore some of the original details, such as in the Book-Cadillac Hotel, which is currently being renovated after being vacant for the last 15 years.


Vandals smash through walls to get at the copper pipes & wiring. There are holes in walls all over the place. In some of the buildings, people take the architectural plaster details & sell it. And then there are those people who thoughtlessly smash the ornatmental plaster, & the people who take crystals off the chandeliers.

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Lakelander, That sort of thing is all too common in Detroit. People go and take architectural details off abandoned buildings. In extreme cases, I've heard of entire houses having all their bricks stolen for renovation of another building, since the old bricks are very hard to match when you're restoring a building. You're thinking of the lion heads that were stolen off Lee Plaza and put on a Chicago condo building. 48 Lions heads were stolen off of Lee Plaza, once one of the most grand hotels in all of Detroit. Some of the lions turned up at Architectural Artifacts, an architectural salvage store in Chicago, where 6 of them were purchased by the developer of the condo building. The owners of the store claim to have had a salvage contract on the building (which they also said was scheduled for demolition), yet according to the owner, the Detroit Housing Commission, there was never any salvage contract on Lee Plaza, & their intention is to restore the building. The 6 lions on the condo building have been returned to Detroit, but the other 42 are still missing. The FBI suspects that they are still hidden at Architectural Artifacts in Chicago, but nobody has been convicted in the lions' illegal removal.


Lee Plaza


Lee Plaza in its heyday


Lee Plaza with Lion Heads, 1999


Lee Plaza without lion heads, 2001


The lions found on a Chicago condo, 2001


The Chicago condo building

Developers Newsletter Featuring the "salvaged" Lions


Damage done by whoever stole the lion heads

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I just hope Lee Plaza isn't torn down. It seems to be deteriorating quite rapidly from the pics I've seen. Detroit's lost way too many historic buildings to negelect or thoughtless "revitalization" plans.

The Chicago condo does look nice. I'm just glad the owner returned the 6 lions :)

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I'm hoping they fix it up too, but there are so many abandoned, deteriorating structures in the city, that it's only possible to save some of them. This building is definately worth saving, & I hope the Detroit Housing Commission goes through with its plans to restore the building.

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