Historic Free Press building neglected, covered in mold, open to trespass

The Free Press building was open to trespass though a broken window.
The Free Press building was open to trespass though a broken window.

The former Detroit Free Press building, an Art Deco high-rise that housed Michigan’s most storied newspaper for 73 years, is a sad version of its old self.

The Albert Kahn-designed building on Lafayette was wide open to trespass for at least three days this week after a broken window overlooking the federal courthouse was shattered.

IFree Press Buildingnside, the 14-story building is showing serious signs of neglect. Walls are covered in black mold. Pigeon carcasses and droppings are scattered across the floors. And marble walls were tagged with graffiti.

The historic building was purchased last year by a Chinese firm, DDI Group, for $4.2 million.

Ken Creighton, vice president and regional general manager of the firm, told me the building is in good hands and will be turned into apartments. He said the building is undergoing environmental tests, and the company plans to soon hire a construction manager.

The company also paid $9.4 million for the 38-story David Stott Building on Griswold, which has been largely vacant since.

The firm is expected to receive more than $20 million in tax credits to restore the building. The total cost is estimated to be around $45 million.

The interior photos were taken Wednesday by a photographer whose identity we won’t reveal for legal reasons.

Check out our friends at HistoricDetroit.org and Detroiturbex.com for more history and photos of the building, which was vacated by the Free Press in 1998.

Free Press lobby
Free Press lobby

Free Press building

Free Press building

Free Press Building
Marble still lines some of the walls.
Over the past year, a lot of black mold has collected along the walls.
Over the past year, a lot of black mold has collected along the walls.

Free Press building

Free Press building

Free Press building

Free Press building

Free Press building

Free Press Building

Free Press Building

Free Press Building

Black mold is collecting on the walls.
Black mold is collecting on the walls.
A lone bear on the first floor.
A lone bear on the first floor.
At the rear of the building.
At the rear of the building.

Free Press Building

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.