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Allan

Statler Hotel Demolition Progress

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This thread is to share your photos of the Statler Hotel as demolition of Detroit's once grand hotel progresses.

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On Wednesday, February 16, work crews had started to remove some of the windows.

The view from Washington Boulevard.

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There's not much activity here yet, with the exception of the removal of some of the Coleman Young era awnings.

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On the Bagley Avenue side, an elevator has been erected.

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The Statler from the Tuller lot. Soon the Statler will be another gaping hole in the city's urban fabric.

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On Saturday, February 20, all was quiet at the Statler.

The view from Times Square. You can see where crews removed many of the windows in the 1916 addition.

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The view from Clifford and Bagley

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The Bagley Avenue side

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The Statler from Park and Adams

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Not much is visible from this angle, but that will surely change over the next week or so.

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Crews are just over half done removing the windows from the Washington side.

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Any bets on how long the People Mover will be down once the Statler crashes into it?

Those pictures are truly sad. I'll swing by and pay my respects tomorrow during lunch.

- BR

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Grab some photos if you can. I was kind of hoping to get a kind of archive of the so-called "progress" going in this thread. A lot of us only make it downtown a couple times per week at best.

Whatever happened to building that plywood enclosure over the people mover? I guess they decided it would be more cost effective to just let the bricks fall on the track. After all, it's no big deal if the people mover doesn't run during the Super Bowl, right?

<hijack>

If I had it my way I'd be living downtown (and hence able to get photos of the day by day progress), but there aren't really many options for downtown living. It looks like midtown is my best bet. </hijack>

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Here are some photos I took on Thursday (2/24) during lunch. Of particular note is the distance between the Statler and the People Mover. My buddy and I both estimated 8-10 feet clearence MAX! Not much room for error.

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Nice photos, Ray. They were working on the Statler as I left Detroit about midnight. I never expected to see them working at midnight on a Saturday night!

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No explosion here. They are taking it down brick by brick (and will be dropping a few on the People Mover tracks in the process).

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Here are some photos from Saturday, February 26. I was surprised to see workers at the Statler working with spotlights shortly after midnight. They must be getting bonuses if they can get the building down earlier.

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It is sad, but the building would cost a lot to repair. Repairing it would involve building a scaffolding around the exterior, attaching it to the facade, removing the internal structure, and putting in new supports and floors. The floors in the Statler are sagging from having had no maintenance in 30 years. They used a much different method to construct floors back then. When properly maintained the flooring system is fine, but when it isn't maintained the floors tend to sag. If they saved the ornamentation (which I'm sure they won't, this being Detroit and all), they could probably build a new Statler for cheaper than the cost to renovate the existing structure.

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If they saved the ornamentation (which I'm sure they won't, this being Detroit and all), they could probably build a new Statler for cheaper than the cost to renovate the existing structure.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

It wouldn't be at all the same. AT ALL.....

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How would it not be the same? Besides the details, everything else is just common everyday brick.

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How would it not be the same?  Besides the details, everything else is just common everyday brick.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I am talking about the original Italian Renaissance style. With all of the original details.

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None of the original details are left inside. The hotel was stripped of its details in the 1960s. I had a workman snap a couple photos inside the lobby for me. It looks like a bomb went off in there. There definately isn't anything inside that can or should be saved.

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It's up to the demolition company to save the ornamental detail on the exterior. In most cases they do. Although it depends on how easy it is to remove. It looks like they tried on that cornice in one of the photos and failed. A good example of facade preservation would be in Ann Arbor where the university keeps a lot of the decorative facades of its long gone buildings in storage building on South Campus. They usually try, but can't always integrate them into brand new buildings on campus. Therefore, the pieces are sold off to developers for use in other buildings.

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I'm pretty sure they just chipped off that detailing to make it easier to install the elevator. The base is made up of rather large pieces of stone...I'm not sure how easy it would be to remove. I would imagine that it is attached quite well, but I don't really know.

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Why is this being demolished?

When Boston's Statler Hilton closed in the late 1970s, a local group quickly bought it and reopened it as the Boston Park Plaza. It's still open today and quite popular.

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The fall of the Detroit Statler is a story that spans over 40 years. With the rising popularity of suburban hotels the Statler struggled to attract business. It was modernized in 1963. It changed hands several times, and occupancy continued to fall. The occupancy for the Detroit Heritage Hotel, as it was known at the time, fell to a mere 20% in the summer of 1975.

The hotel could not afford to pay property taxes or school taxes. The hotel was also unable to pay its utility bills, and Detroit-Edison threatened to shut off the building's electricity and steam service. A rescue package for the hotel was drawn up. It included a $475,000 loan from the Teamsters Union Central States Pension Fund. The entire package totaled $950,000, and was provided by six local banks and loan organizations. Unfortunately Metropolitan Savings refused to cooperate with the Teamsters and the six Detroit banks were in disagreement about their share of the loan.

Again on October 8, 1975, Detroit-Edison threatened to shut off the hotel's electricty and steam service. They backed off when Muhammad Farouk Kahn, a Pakistani financier, announced plans to buy the Heritage for an undisclosed amount and wired a cash deposit on the hotel. The deposit would be enough for the Heritage to pay off its debts of approximately $700,000. Unfortunately, Kahn's funds got held up by the Bank of England.

Sick of waiting, a week later Detroit-Edison shuts off the hotel's electricty and steam service, and the hotel closes its doors. A couple days later hotel sources claimed that a $10,000 check from Kahn had arrived, allowing Detroit-Edison to turn on the electricity. The company denies ever receiving the money. By this time the hotel owed the city $139,923 in back taxes. The city gave the hotel until July 1, 1977 to come up with the money before the city foreclosed. The $88.8 Million in hotel bookings were mostly kept inside the city, thanks to the cooperation of the other downtown hotels. The deadline for Kahn's deal passed and the sale of the hotel fell through.

In the first half of 1976 everything inside the hotel was sold off. Everything from matresses to paneling to the chandeliers was sold. After the sale the hotel still owed the city $57,000 in unpaid taxes. In June of 1979 the city aquired the hotel. Of the three hotels closed at the time, the Tuller, the Heritage, and the Fort-Shelby, the Heritage was considered least likely to reopen, since it would cost so much to re-equip.

In 1981, Ann Arbor Richard Berger proposed to renovate the hotel into a hotel named 'Inn on the Park'. However, he backed off because he believed it would not be cost effective to rehab.

In April 1984, developers from suburban Oakland County announced plans to convert the Statler into Le Gran Atrium, a 300 unit apartment house. The $13 Million project received funding from several sources. Unfortunately the cost of renovation kept rising, and changes to the federal tax code threatened the project. Renovation never begins, and the hotel sits vacant.

Four years later, in April 1988, the developers announce that they had secured funding for the project, then known as "Atrium Place." 334 Apartments and a 400 car parking deck would have been included. Their financing failed to fall into place, and the project died.

In December 1988, with the North American International Auto Show coming to town in January, the city spends $70,000 to install awnings on the building to help with the area's image. Over time the awnings faded and got torn up. Several are still hanging on the building to this day.

The city lets the building sit and rot. To my knowledge there was no discussion of the hotel's redevelopment during this time.

In the summer of 2000 city holds RFPs (requests for proposals) on the Statler and the nearby Kales Building. The state funded a $2.5 Million cleanup of the Statler. Developers came back with proposals, but gaps existed between what the developers were willing to invest in the Statler and what the renovation cost would be. Depending on who you ask, the gap ranged anywhere from $40 & $80 Million. The city was not willing to bridge the gap, and began trying to get the building demolished. The historic district commission approved the demolition, and the city got state funds to demolish the building.

Preservationists tried to find developers for the building. HRI came up with a plan for the Statler in late 2004, but the city decided to move forward with the demolition. Demolition work began in January 2005, and will continue through this summer.

When completed, the site will be planted with grass. The city seems to think that it will find a developer to construct a midrise residential tower on the site. Unfortunately, a lesser development will probably be constructed on the site. And no new development will ever live up to the grandeur of the Statler Hotel.

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The main reason is the city is too damn stupid to maintain the building so they let it deteriorate to what it is today!

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Pretty much. They let it sit for years without trying to find a developer! And heaven forbid they properly mothball the building!

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These are from Friday, March 3, 2005. This is probably my last significant photo posting for a while. Certain people at other websites seem to think that there is no such thing as the U.S. copyright law. Apparently nobody has heard of asking permission, and that it is now ok to just take things. :angry:

Anyway....

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