Chunks of Wurlitzer crash down on People Mover tracks in downtown Detroit

Wurlitzer building (Steve Neavling/MCM)
Wurlitzer building (Steve Neavling/MCM)

Chunks of the neglected Wurlitzer high-rise in downtown Detroit came crashing down again – this time on the People Mover tracks.

Workers on a crane were gently removing bricks from the building on Broadway Monday morning when some of the facade came tumbling down on the People Mover at John R. and Broadway, prompting a safety manager for the system to halt work on that side of the building.

WurlitzerThe cascading bricks caused a brief interruption while the debris was removed. No one was injured. This time.

A safety manager for the People Mover is on scene monitoring the situation.

Work began on the Wurlitzer last week after Mayor Mike Duggan’s administration urged a judge to force the owners – Wayne County Circuit Judge Daphne Mean Curtis and her husband Paul Curtis – to remove the hazards after ignoring courter orders since 2011 to stabilize the building.

In 2011, a loose chunk of exterior plunged through the second-floor roof of 1515 Broadway, a coffee shop and community theater. The 1515 Broadway owner, Chris Jaszczak, lives on the second floor and was sleeping when the debris crashed through his residence.

While past administrations have largely ignored the dangers from the Wurlitzer, Mayor Duggan is not and has pledged to ensure the building is safe as downtown begins to bounce back.

After hearing about Monday’s collapse, Duggan’s administration immediately sent over an employee with the Building, Safety Engineering and Environmental Department.

Check back for updates.

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.

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