Detroit Swag-o-mania

A silhouetted bronze sculpture of Poseidon frames the illuminated main entrance to the Detroit Institute of Arts during Detroit's annual Delectricity festival of lights. Stretching along Woodward Avenue through the heart of Detroit's Cultural Center the celebration is a growing and popular two-night event.

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DISCUSSING ALL THINGS DETROIT-WINDSOR SINCE 1999

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  1. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Detroitnerd View Post
    Well, because the focal point will be the former Dalgleish Cadillac, which is on Cass, not Woodward. The addition will go on Cass. The American Beauty building, the last remaining piece of Woodward's original streetwall, will become the parking lot. I don't see how this new facility has any Woodward frontage.
    Dalgleish's old used car lot is at Woodward/Amsterdam. IF the article is correct about the addition is going I don't see how they can built without some Woodward frontage

    http://g.co/maps/zp3up

  2. #27
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    An even worse "streetwall" building that WSU built was the "abomination" of an addition to Old Main (see image). Not only does it look like a bunker... but it isn't even oriented to any street?? (Maybe Grand River... but that's 2 miles away). What were they thinking when they built this building? And what purpose does it have, besides trying to ruin the historic neighborhood?
    Attached Images Attached Images  

  3. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by MSUguy View Post
    Dalgleish's old used car lot is at Woodward/Amsterdam. IF the article is correct about the addition is going I don't see how they can built without some Woodward frontage

    http://g.co/maps/zp3up
    Well, the lot is on Woodward. The building, which the article says is the focal point, is on Cass. Will they build to Woodward? Short of a promise to build on the lot, don't kid yourself. Gilmour is even being cagey, dangling to possibility of something better being built on the American Beauty site. But if the facility they are building right now is a success, where will the people park?

    Again, I am not alone in being very doubtful about WSU's savvy in working within the boundaries of tasteful urban planning. And there is good reason, given the past bulldozer-happy behavior of the university.

    Anyway, I hope you're right. But I wouldn't trust anything I didn't see in writing.

  4. #29
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    Oh, god, that cube they built on the back of Old Main. Don't get me started, man ...

  5. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by MSUguy View Post
    Dalgleish's old used car lot is at Woodward/Amsterdam. IF the article is correct about the addition is going I don't see how they can built without some Woodward frontage

    http://g.co/maps/zp3up
    That's what I was thinking too. That's not a terribly large lot, so it seems that a new building would have to take up most of it. That would mitigate the loss of the American Beauty building, which is not all that much of a Beauty in its current state.

  6. #31
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    I've seen people who hope for the best with WSU. They don't do as well as the people who file a FOIA...

  7. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by DetroiterOnTheWestCoast View Post
    That's what I was thinking too. That's not a terribly large lot, so it seems that a new building would have to take up most of it. That would mitigate the loss of the American Beauty building, which is not all that much of a Beauty in its current state.

    Sure, she's a little beat up, but I don't think many of us who live in the neighborhood would rather see it removed. Buildings have potential, parking lots do not.

    I think residents are too often left out of these discussions that affect OUR quality of life.

    The Woodward frontage is cool, but the Burroughs frontage is fantastic. If you've ever walked that block, you know what I mean.

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    I bet the new traffic generated by the renovation of Dalglish can share with the GIANT TechTown lot across Amsterdam.

  8. #33
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    Sounds great but is there any meaningful biotech development existing now in Detroit? I live in Portland (originally from Detroit Metro) and Portland has been chasing biotech for ten years with largely unsuccessful results. This is in spite of proximity to CA (a large if not the largest hub) and lower business costs. I'd like to think biotech is something that could bolster Detroit but frankly this seems like a long shot. There are just too many other cities that are much further down that road. What exactly is Detroit's competitive advantage?

  9. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hans64 View Post
    Sounds great but is there any meaningful biotech development existing now in Detroit? I live in Portland (originally from Detroit Metro) and Portland has been chasing biotech for ten years with largely unsuccessful results. This is in spite of proximity to CA (a large if not the largest hub) and lower business costs. I'd like to think biotech is something that could bolster Detroit but frankly this seems like a long shot. There are just too many other cities that are much further down that road. What exactly is Detroit's competitive advantage?
    Time will tell.

    Proximity to 2 world-class research universities within 100 miles could be one. An already existing infrastructure of engineering/manufacturing could be another?

    We will see....

  10. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Detroitnerd View Post
    Oh, god, that cube they built on the back of Old Main. Don't get me started, man ...
    If you think thats bad you obviously don't remember what it replaced. That part of Old Main had a bunch of substandard additions previously. When I went to school there in the 1980's the whole wing was shut down. The older addition clashed awfully with original Central High, only it was much older and decrepit. Unlike the old wing, at least the replacement matches the building's color and does not compete with it in a clashing style. Sometimes its best just to have something bland to allow the magnificience of the original structure to shine.

  11. #36
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    Wayne State is 1) forcing a suburban landscape upon Midtown, and 2) not being upfront about the American Beauty Building.

    "They need parking" is (for lack of a better word) bullshit. Within a 1,500 foot radius (less than 1/4 mile or a 5 minute walk), I'm sure there is plenty of existing surface parking. They do not need to tear down the American Beauty Building for parking.

    This building was built by the American Electrical Heater Company, and later renamed after the firm's most successful product, the American Beauty iron. I own a copy of Albert Kahn, Inc.'s self-published photo book and listingof their projects (copyright 1936). The list of projects includes, under Heating & Lighting Devices, the "American Electrical Heater Co., Detroit, Mich."

    The building's facade has obvious AK characteristics. I believe the American Beauty Building is an Albert Kahn building. How can Wayne State get away with not admitting this, and worse, tearing it down - for surface parking?

  12. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by DetroitPlanner View Post
    If you think thats bad you obviously don't remember what it replaced. That part of Old Main had a bunch of substandard additions previously. When I went to school there in the 1980's the whole wing was shut down. The older addition clashed awfully with original Central High, only it was much older and decrepit. Unlike the old wing, at least the replacement matches the building's color and does not compete with it in a clashing style. Sometimes its best just to have something bland to allow the magnificience of the original structure to shine.
    What a magnificent rationalization. That's like trying to make a woman's face more beautiful by attaching a tumor to her neck ...

  13. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pcm View Post
    Sure, she's a little beat up, but I don't think many of us who live in the neighborhood would rather see it removed. Buildings have potential, parking lots do not.

    I think residents are too often left out of these discussions that affect OUR quality of life.

    The Woodward frontage is cool, but the Burroughs frontage is fantastic. If you've ever walked that block, you know what I mean.

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    I bet the new traffic generated by the renovation of Dalglish can share with the GIANT TechTown lot across Amsterdam.
    I had not seen the building from the Burroughs side; its larger than I thought. I can see why someone else thought it would be great for lofts.

  14. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by DetroiterOnTheWestCoast View Post
    I had not seen the building from the Burroughs side; its larger than I thought. I can see why someone else thought it would be great for lofts.
    Clearly, it won't be quite the travesty that the Lafayette Building or the Hudson's demos were, but small(ish) scale buildings in this neighborhood have a real possibility of reuse.

    I can't count how many times buildings were demolished with the promise of something to replace it, and of course, never did. This building, and most others around town, will NEVER be replicated. If the architecture of the new apartments across from Old Main are what we have to look forward to in this town, we're screwed.

  15. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by DetroiterOnTheWestCoast View Post
    I had not seen the building from the Burroughs side; its larger than I thought. I can see why someone else thought it would be great for lofts.
    To get the scope of just how large and majestic this building is, look at the bird's eye view on bing maps. If you zoom out, you can also see how the Dalglish building has no shortage of surface parking surrounding it.

    http://binged.it/HFMlUt

  16. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hans64 View Post
    Sounds great but is there any meaningful biotech development existing now in Detroit? I live in Portland (originally from Detroit Metro) and Portland has been chasing biotech for ten years with largely unsuccessful results. This is in spite of proximity to CA (a large if not the largest hub) and lower business costs. I'd like to think biotech is something that could bolster Detroit but frankly this seems like a long shot. There are just too many other cities that are much further down that road. What exactly is Detroit's competitive advantage?

    1) As I understand it, Techtown, the business incubator, is full.
    2) This building is a biomedical research building. That's not the same as a biotech company.

  17. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by downtownguy View Post
    To get the scope of just how large and majestic this building is, look at the bird's eye view on bing maps. If you zoom out, you can also see how the Dalglish building has no shortage of surface parking surrounding it.

    http://binged.it/HFMlUt
    Thanks Downtownguy... I never really noticed that that section between Midtown and New Center is sort of an island unto itself... between I-94 and the railroad tracks.... hence the TechTown title. That building is pretty massive. What a pity to lose such a beauty to another sea of parking...

  18. #43
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    There is a petition up at Change.org to stop the demo of the ABEI building. Get on it!

    http://www.change.org/petitions/wayn...-a-parking-lot

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    For what it's worth, Preservation Detroit said on their FB wall that they have contacted Wayne State about the demo of the ABEI building. Also, sign the petition!

    http://www.change.org/petitions/wayn...-a-parking-lot

  20. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pcm View Post
    There is a petition up at Change.org to stop the demo of the ABEI building. Get on it!

    http://www.change.org/petitions/wayn...-a-parking-lot
    Great idea. I will sign this.

    The more I think about it, the more this is really, really bugging me. It'd be so stupid to knock down such a gem with so many other empty lots around.

    If anybody is in the know and knows of perhaps a public hearing/meeting where this will be discussed at WSU please let me know.

  21. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pcm View Post
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    For what it's worth, Preservation Detroit said on their FB wall that they have contacted Wayne State about the demo of the ABEI building.
    When was that posted, Pcm? I'd like to add my comment to their FB page, but I don't see the post. I'm having a hard time adjusting to the new FB format.

  22. #47
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    I put the petition up on my FB page, and one of my friends commented how the ABEI building would make a great garage -- if they really think they need parking so bad, which I still doubt as I look at the sea of surface lots surrounding the Dalgleish building.

  23. #48
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    My thinking is that they are going to do what are are going to do and already have the new building plans drawn up,worse case scenario would be to push to incorporate the existing facade into the new building,meet them halfway,it is not uncommon for cities to issue demolition permits for historic buildings but requiring that the street front remains. But that would require a bit of creativity.

  24. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by downtownguy View Post
    When was that posted, Pcm? I'd like to add my comment to their FB page, but I don't see the post. I'm having a hard time adjusting to the new FB format.
    This was posted on Tuesday. The best way to wade through the muck of Facebook's new design is to click the Highlight button, right in the center of the page, then click "Posts by Others". See photo.

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  25. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by mccarch View Post
    The building's facade has obvious AK characteristics. I believe the American Beauty Building is an Albert Kahn building. How can Wayne State get away with not admitting this, and worse, tearing it down - for surface parking?
    It is a Kahn. From City of Detroit Proposed New Amsterdam Historic District document:

    http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j...Lt9rhA&cad=rja

    "6100 Cass Avenue, American Electrical Heater Company (1908), Albert Kahn architect

    This building, known as today the American Beauty Iron Works, was described as the most completely equipped plant for the manufacturing of electrical heating devices in the world. Albert Kahn use of reinforced concrete was ideal in that it provided a fireproof, strong, and inexpensive factory for this use.

    The American Electric Heater Company was founded in 1894 and was one of the most important interests of Detroit, due to the demand for electrical devices for household conveniences. Prominent Detroit entrepreneur, Frank Kuhn, established the business with his brother, Robert. They produced quality heating devices, which were sent out under the trademark of American Beauty. According to the Book of Detroiters, the plant stood as a monument to the progressiveness, business spirit, and powers of organization of the Kuhn Brothers.

    This two-story structure extends the entire length of Burroughs Avenue between Woodward and Cass Avenues, although originally the building had a Woodward Avenue address, and did not extend to Cass. Two major changes altered the footprint of the building. According to City of Detroit building permits, the front forty -six feet was demolished for the widening of Woodward Avenue. Then in 1934, an addition was completed to the west of the building, extending to Cass Avenue.

    Today, the main facade fronts Cass Avenue, and is comprised of five bays of double-hung, sash ribbon windows on the second floor. The first floor contains coupled multi-paned sash windows, and the pedestrian entrance is centered between two bays. Bands of concrete are exposed on all elevations of the building. The eastern and southern elevations contain decorative brickwork. The Woodward elevation is comprised of nine bays of multi-paned, steel sash windows. The windows contain keystones centered in the arches. The southern elevation at Woodward Avenue has a canopy overhang that shelters two doorways. Original metal signs spelling American Beauty are attached to the roof of the building on Woodward and Cass elevations."

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