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