Another slice of downtown Detroit's historic architecture looks ready to fall. According to the Detroit News, the city is "taking legal steps" to force the demolition of the Park Avenue Building, an Albert Kahn design completed in 1922. Today, the building is a mess of gaping windows secured only by a flimsy fence.
The city's court filings get pretty dramatic, declaring the building to be "the very definition of irreparable harm to the public." In reality, that title more accurately applies to the building's longtime owner, Ralph Sachs. You might remember Sachs as the owner of the historic Hotel Charlevoix, which he neglected for decades until tumbling bricks convinced a judge to order demolition last year. Today, it's a parking lot.
The PAB, however, appears to be in much better condition than the Charlevoix. It also boasts some beautiful exterior ornamentation. Why suddenly push for demolition rather than mothball it for later renovation? Two words: Arena District. The PAB stands in Columbia Park, one of the district's planned "neighborhoods." Plans describe Columbia Park as a "fresh, modern neighborhood anchored by a new public green space."
UPDATE (8/16): We're hearing that the empty Hotel Charlevoix property is no longer open for parking. Strange.
· Hotel Charlevoix Says Goodbye, Park Ave Building Worrisome [Curbed]
· Detroit targets historic Park Avenue Building for demolition [Det News]