Demolition by implosion set for Park Avenue building at Red Wings arena site

Pecking away at the Hotel Park Avenue to accommodate a new Red Wings arena.
Pecking away at the Hotel Park Avenue as crews prepare to build a new Red Wings arena. All photos by Steve Neavling.

If all goes as planned, the 91-year-old Hotel Park Avenue will come crashing down July 11 to make way for a loading dock for the new Red Wings arena under construction in Detroit.

For the past week, crews have been gutting the first few floors to prepare for demolition by implosion.

Red wings park avenueOlympia Development, which is building the $450 million arena, has alerted the fire department that crews plan to use explosives to demolish the structure on July 11, barring any last-minute delays.

Here’s a rare glimpse inside Hotel Park Avenue. 

The Red Wings plan to replace the Louis Kamper-designed building with a loading dock after a divided Detroit Historic District Commission approved the demolition. The vote was mired in controversy because of Mayor Mike Duggan’s questionable involvement behind the scenes.

Red Wings arenaIn an agreement with City Council, Olympia agreed to renovate the neighboring Eddystone Hotel, which also was designed by the famed Kamper. In the 1920s, the lower Cass Corridor was teeming with upscale shops, hotels and nightlife. But the area declined sharply after World War II when white, middle-class residents began moving to safer neighborhoods and the suburbs.

Speculators gobbled up much of the property and let it languish for decades.

The Red Wings arena is expected to be finished by late 2017.

Red Wings arena

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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.

  • Jeff Keathley

    Dang it, I’m away next weekend, or I would joyfully go down to watch it finally go away!

  • bimbobread

    nothing like a good implosion!