Historic commission approves controversial demo of Hotel Park Avenue

Hotel Park Avenue (right) and Hotel Eddystone. Photo by Steve Neavling/MCM
Hotel Park Avenue (right) and Hotel Eddystone. Photo by Steve Neavling/MCM

The historic Hotel Park Avenue will be demolished after all.

The Historic District Commission voted 3-1 on Wednesday night to approve demolition of the 91-year-old building after intense lobbying from Mayor Mike Duggan’s office, which until now denied playing a role.

The lone dissenting vote came from Lauren Hood, a preservationist who expressed frustration with the back-room maneuvering.

The vote means Olympia Development, which is building the Red Wings arena, will be able to demolish the hotel. Earlier in the meeting, Olympia threatened to abandon both the Eddystone and Hotel Park Avenue if the commission didn’t approve demolition of the Park Avenue.

Billionaire Mike Ilitch’s company, which received $285 million in public funding to build an arena and entertainment district, claimed a “financial hardship” if it had to rehabilitate the Hotel Park Avenue.

Mayor Duggan has denied for weeks having a hand in the process, but after the meeting, his spokesman John Roach acknowledged that the mayoral administration has been lobbying commissioners.

 

 

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.

  • JF

    It is disappointing knowing that one thing beloved about Detroit is its architecture and historic buildings. Yet, in a city with more vacant land than any other, including much within range of this structure, we could manage to find no configuration for the new stadium that wouldn’t require this to be demolished. Really? If you didn’t have the cash to rehab this yourself, you couldn’t , say, put the loading dock on the other side and invite another developer to participate? There was no solution that didn’t involve senselessly destroying history?

    • Shatner

      what is the history worth saving, is it simply “old”?

  • bebow

    Let’s look more closely at the “yes” votes – Hamilton, Thrower (Grundy), and Sanders. Same old.

  • Ronnie

    If it was of historical value, then the historical society should have been involved long ago to prevent its deterioration.

    • Chris Zadorozny

      The Park Ave. was vacated in 2003. A developer bought it in 2005 to convert into condos. Recession hit and no one was investing in Detroit. In 2010, Ilitch bought the building and the area for the arena. You don’t know what you’re talking about.

      • javierjuanmanuel

        The recession was not 2005. Try almost three years later. Also i think illitch bought it stripped and ruined in 2012.

        • Chris Zadorozny

          You are correct, it was 2008 the recession hit. I was making the point that it was ready to be converted into condos. And it was 2012, thought it said 2010 from what I read.

  • Joe Russo

    91 year old building in center of the best detroit real estate market in 60 years knocked down for loading dock. what a crock. i would be so ashamed to be these people. assholes

    • Ronnie

      I would rather see grass or trees than the majority of these old dilapidated buildings.

      • rhoneyman

        i would rather see the city require the developers to earn some of the cash granted by rehabbing a landmark building. but that’s just me.

        • javierjuanmanuel

          How about just not giving them money?

          What do you mean by earn ?

          • rhoneyman

            1. already done.
            2. place conditions on the grant. require rehab of the hotel.

          • Shatner

            what is landmark about this place? I cannot find any evidence of it having significant value….

    • javierjuanmanuel

      Knocked down because it was a flop house for 40 years, abandoned for ten, stripped and ruined.

      Putting a dock in a weird place puts hundreds of employees, spending tens of thousands of hours moving stuff around further than they need to.

      Who cares thats its 91 years old now, its to late, its stripped. Surely no one cared when it was 81, 85, 88 years old, or it never would have been stripped.

      If that was true, it wouldbe a nice hotel, not a gross nasty flop house

      • Shatner

        ok so it was a flophouse, why was that significant? Did something major occur with one of the residents? I just dont see the significance here.