Castle makeovers: Demand for lofts drives restoration of historic buildings

James Scott Mansion (By Steve Neaving)
James Scott Mansion (By Steve Neaving)

The growing demand for lofts near downtown Detroit is creating new life for two castle-like buildings that are each vacant and more than a century old.

Here is a closer look:

1. James Scott Mansion: Demolition seemed all but certain for the crumbling 137-year-old James Scott Mansion in Detroit’s Cass Corridor. Abandoned for four decades and damaged by fire, the Richardsonian-Romanesque building on Peterboro near Cass is in bad shape.

But last week a developer announced new plans to convert the mansion into 25 condos.

Behind the project is Joel Landy, who also developed the Burton Theatre and Addison Building. He has owned the mansion for 15 years.

Built in  1878, the mansion served as the private residence of James Scott, a wealthy bachelor, gambler and real estate heir. When he died in 1910, the mansion was turned into apartments and abandoned in the 1970s.

Castle lofts_4051
Former Detroit Police 8th Precinct (By Steve Neavling)

2. Castle Lofts: Built in 1901, the former 8th precinct of the police department is being converted into 15 units at Grand River and Rosa Parks. Rent will range from $550 to $1,525 a month, according to the Detroit Legacy Group.

The opulent interior at Grand River Station includes spiral staircases, exposed brick, vaulted ceilings and recessed lighting.

Each loft has a unique design, varying from one to three levels and one to four bedrooms. Some have jacuzzis.

The first floor will  be used for office space.

Tours begin today.

The castle-like building was designed by famous local architect Louis Kamper, whose work also includes the Broderick Tower, the Book-Cadillac Hotel and Eddystone Building in Detroit.


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.

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