Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Fine Arts Building façade preserved for future use

Sometimes it’s possible to salvage a building that’s stood empty and rotting for years, refurbish it, and shape it into a once-again usable place. It’s a pretty cool process to watch. Other times, the rot runs too deep and the place is destroyed. Usually there’s no in-between.

Which is why the mere idea of salvaging the façade of the old Fine Arts Building in Grand Circus Park in downtown Detroit is so remarkable. It’s even more awesome to see it. In case you haven’t, here’s essentially what they’ve done. Because the building was in such bad shape, there was no saving it, and demolition crews recently brought all but one wall of the 12-story structure to the ground.

In an effort to preserve the look of the building – which was at one time a famous place in Detroit, sort of a back entryway into the Adams Theater, to which it was connected via a second-story tunnel – an enormous scaffolding structure was built to hold the façade in place until a future development is attached. It’s amazing, not to mention very strange to see.

The building, my crack research tells me, is part of the Ilitch empire. No announcement has been made regarding the site’s future use, but one rumor did have Ilitch building office space to expand its current location in the Fox Theater. I’ve also heard they’re planning on installing some cool lighting to dress the place up until development begins.