Update: Detroit City Council approved rezoning plans for the new Red Wings arena on April 21, which likely means the end for the Hotel Park Avenue.
The end appears to be approaching for the historic Hotel Park Avenue in the Cass Corridor after a city council committee approved rezoning plans Thursday for a new Red Wings arena.
Both hotels, which are on the national historic register, were designed by famed architect Louis Kamper, who also was the mastermind behind the Book-Cadillac Hotel, the Broderick Tower and other hotels and downtown landmarks.
A photographer recently provided these photos from inside the hotel, which has been vacant and relatively secure since 2003.
In the 1920s, the area surrounding the hotels was teeming with fancy shops and hotels, drawing its inspiration from New York City’s Fifth Avenue, according to a historic account by the Detroit Historic Designation Advisory Board. But the area declined sharply after World War II when middle-class residents began moving to safer neighborhoods and the suburbs.
Before long, the area was overtaken by drugs, crime and poverty. The few upscale apartments and hotels that weren’t demolished hung on by providing services to lower-income people.
The Park Avenue Hotel, for example, became a senior complex and then a rehab center for drug addicts and homeless people.
The following photos were taken this week.
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.