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.
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.
In 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.
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.