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  1. #1

    Default Park Apartments Owner Joe Barbat plans 2 more Downtown Apartment Conversions

    Update: Park Apartments Renovation reveals vestiges of the Oriental Theater.



    ...and before things were bricked up and 'modernized'.


    See interior pictures below.

    Original Post follows...
    ============================================
    Joe Barbat, who is also CEO of Wireless Toyz, is planning to convert two former office buildings into residential apartments - The Gabriel Richard building cater corner from the Cadillac Hotel and the Wayne County Building [aka Philip J. Neudeck Building] which we look into from DetroitYES world HQ in the Michigan Building and is on the corner of Clifford and Bagley.

    He was in the news and discussed here on this forum when he acquired the Park Apartments and announce plans to renovate and upscale the property.

    Read more about him and his plans in ths Crains article.

  2. #2

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    Its on Curbed too.

    http://detroit.curbed.com/archives/2...apartments.php

    Any locals have any info on work at the Park Apartments?

  3. #3

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    let's hope renovations get underway ASAP

  4. #4

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    First of all the Park Ave. Building used to be the entranceway and grand lobby to the former Oriental Theatre (1927-29), later becoming the Downtown RKO Theatre... until it was razed in the early 1950s, due to poor attendance.

    In fact, here is a diagram showing the way the building used to look in 1927... with the auditorium on the left torn down in 1953.
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/717465...166977/sizes/l

    This 2,950 seat former Atmospheric Theatre (no known good photographic images of the auditorium exist)... still had much of the lobby plasterwork (within the tower) existing, in shades of blue and green.

    If you ignore the images of the Fox Theatre that show up here... you can see images of the surviving (blue and green) parts of the lobby of the former Oriental Theatre....
    https://www.flickr.com/search/?q=Ori...atre%20Detroit

    What is really exciting about this is the fact that the new owner Joe Barbat told this to our forumer Gumby about that exotic surviving space....

    "I asked the new owner Joe Barbat on the Buildings of Detroit Facebook page if he planned on preserving the old lobby of the Oriental Theater and this is his response to me."

    "Hi Ken. You better believe we are going to preserve the awesome architecture from the Oriental Theatre. Not only the interior of the building but there are some really cool features on the exterior that we plan on rehabilitating as well."

    This would make for an awesome exciting restaurant space.

  5. #5

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    Nice find Gistok. It never occurred to me there was a theater there. What an amazing scene it must have been when all the theaters surrounding Grand Circus Park and nearby were showing movies at the same time.


  6. #6

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    Since no photographs are known of the interior of the auditorium of the Oriental/Downtown RKO Theatre (razed 1953), this is probably the best idea we'll ever get to what the exotic atmospheric interior of it looked like....

    https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7535/...1d3a4b5a_b.jpg

    The reason for its' early demise seems kind of lame sounding today. It was considered too far off the beaten path of the theatre district, and everything conceivable was tried to coax patrons that far west on Adam Ave.

    But when you consider that it really wasn't any farther than the United Artists or the Michigan from GCP... it sounds almost not believable. However, it did have trouble getting audiences into the venue... something that the nearby Adams didn't seem to have.
    Last edited by Gistok; January-14-15 at 04:05 AM.

  7. #7

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    Thanks for finding that quote from him Gistok, I couldn't remember where he said that to me.
    Quote Originally Posted by Gistok View Post
    First of all the Park Ave. Building used to be the entranceway and grand lobby to the former Oriental Theatre (1927-29), later becoming the Downtown RKO Theatre... until it was razed in the early 1950s, due to poor attendance.

    In fact, here is a diagram showing the way the building used to look in 1927... with the auditorium on the left torn down in 1953.
    https://www.flickr.com/photos/717465...166977/sizes/l

    This 2,950 seat former Atmospheric Theatre (no known good photographic images of the auditorium exist)... still had much of the lobby plasterwork (within the tower) existing, in shades of blue and green.

    If you ignore the images of the Fox Theatre that show up here... you can see images of the surviving (blue and green) parts of the lobby of the former Oriental Theatre....
    https://www.flickr.com/search/?q=Ori...atre%20Detroit

    What is really exciting about this is the fact that the new owner Joe Barbat told this to our forumer Gumby about that exotic surviving space....

    "I asked the new owner Joe Barbat on the Buildings of Detroit Facebook page if he planned on preserving the old lobby of the Oriental Theater and this is his response to me."

    "Hi Ken. You better believe we are going to preserve the awesome architecture from the Oriental Theatre. Not only the interior of the building but there are some really cool features on the exterior that we plan on rehabilitating as well."

    This would make for an awesome exciting restaurant space.

  8. #8

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    i really hope they restore the entryway. the building looks really awkward as it is, but could really shine if the exterior is restored.

  9. Default

    The Briggs House Apartments [fka Park Apartments] renovation progresses.

  10. Default

    Here are some interior pictures from back in February by good friend Alex Bieri of Stokas Bieri Real Estate, the retail consultants for the Briggs House. These vestiges are being restore as part of the lobby.







  11. #11

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    Lowell, it's pretty amazing that the lobby and theatre seems to not have had another use after the demise in 1953. It's nice to see action on this great property. I hope they can redo the decorative paint job on these walls using the same colors, it would look brilliant.

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gistok View Post
    The reason for its' early demise seems kind of lame sounding today. It was considered too far off the beaten path of the theatre district, and everything conceivable was tried to coax patrons that far west on Adams Ave.
    My dad says he always liked going to the RKO Downtown because it was cheaper and less crowded than other downtown theaters. And it was a pretty easy stop between buses on his way home from Wayne U.

  13. #13

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    Originally Posted by Gistok
    The reason for its' early demise seems kind of lame sounding today. It was considered too far off the beaten path of the theatre district, and everything conceivable was tried to coax patrons that far west on Adams Ave.
    Plain and simple the US was overstocked with movie theaters after the double-whammy of the Paramount Decree/television. The fact that the footprint of a theater is a big parcel of land that can be bought with one transaction made them ripe for the 50s-60s demolition derby. We are fortunate here in Detroit, to still have as many as we do, an amazingly high percentage. Philadelphia just demoed their last palace, the Boyd. NYC got rid of most of them.

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by 56packman View Post
    Plain and simple the US was overstocked with movie theaters after the double-whammy of the Paramount Decree/television. The fact that the footprint of a theater is a big parcel of land that can be bought with one transaction made them ripe for the 50s-60s demolition derby. We are fortunate here in Detroit, to still have as many as we do, an amazingly high percentage. Philadelphia just demoed their last palace, the Boyd. NYC got rid of most of them.
    You got that right... Cincinnati and Baltimore are also without downtown movie palaces... Minneapolis has only one.

    NYC lost the best ones in Manhattan.... the Roxy, the Capitol, the State, the Broadway Paramount... even Radio City was in danger. The only saving grace for NYC is that the 5 outlying "Wonder Theatres" are all still standing, and either restored or being restored... the Kings, Queens (Valencia), Bronx (Paradise), the Jersey and in Manhattan Loew's 175th.

  15. #15

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    This is an awesome thread. I thought that only the boiler room of the old Oriental survived. It is such a unique piece of local architecture!

  16. #16

    Default Briggs House Apartments

    Any update on the status of the work on this building in Grand Circus Park/when the anticipated opening date is?

  17. #17

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    Det, this new thread will get rolled into the end of this one (when Admin sees it).....

    http://www.detroityes.com/mb/showthr...ark+Apartments

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