Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Work begins on Lafayette Building in Detroit – but what are they doing?

We don’t typically look to break news here on the Kage, largely because that would require actual work. All the same, we have conflicting info on the future of the old Lafayette Building downtown.

If you’re not familiar with the Lafayette, it’s that huge, wedge-shaped, hulking, rotting, crumbling pile of concrete and graffiti that towers over Lafayette Coney Island and American Coney Island. News reports throughout the summer said the Lafayette - despite efforts by groups looking to preserve the building - was slated to meet up with the wrecking ball soon. It was considered unsafe to even be near it. (You may recall the Lafayette was recently featured in this space because of the trees growing on its rooftops.) Throughout the summer, a mesh fence was constructed around the entire building to keep people away.

Anyway, I biked by this afternoon and noticed that work crews were setting up scaffolding and starting to tear the building apart. But one of the workers told me the place was being refurbished, not demolished. Hmmm. Either he was just goofin’ with me (which makes no sense), or something recent has happened to change the fate of the old building. I’ll post new info as I get it. (I’m still pulling for a renovation; it was pretty cool watching the old Fort Shelby get fixed up.)

Incidentally, if it does get demolished, the reports this summer all said that the coney island places would not be touched. Whew!