Canadian firm wants to demolish historic, ornate bank building over protests

If a Toronto-based firm gets its way, a 112-year-old building in downtown Detroit will be demolished to make way for a parking lot.

Triple Properties Inc., which bought the ornate, historic building for $700,000 earlier this month, acknowledged the plan Thursday.

The firm also bought the adjacent Penobscot Building this year and says it needs more parking because occupancy is expected to substantially increase.

The news shocked preservationists, historians and architects, who pledged to fight any demolition efforts, which must clear steep hurdles because of its historic status.

The Neo-Classical bank, which is a federally registered historic building, features white marble walls, coffered ceilings and twin 28-foot columns at the entrance.

It’s also the site of the last U.S. fort evacuated by British Troops in the late 1700s, according to the Michigan State Housing Development Authority.

The building housed various banks until the 1980s and since has housed a number of retailers.

Triple Properties also owns the Silverdome in Pontiac.

Steve Neavling is an award-winning investigative journalist and a former Detroit Free Press reporter.

Steve Neavling

Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.