Friday, November 5, 2010

Phoenix Group presses for urban renewal from old Detroit police precinct building

Driving out Grand River one rainy day last spring, I happened past this gothic building on the corner of Grand River and Rosa Parks. I had no idea what it once was, nor if it was still being used today.

Turns out it is, which surprised me, given the rough condition of the neighborhood. But I was even more surprised by what it used to be.

These days, the building serves as headquarters for the Phoenix Group Companies, whose mission it is to redevelop urban communities through new residential construction and the redevelopment of existing homes. Look a block in any direction from Grand River and Rosa Park, and it's clear the Phoenix Group has its work cut out. (For all of you wise guys out there, no, MacGuyver doesn't work there.) 

The building was originally constructed in 1901, when it served briefly as a police station in Detroit's Second Precinct. It was eventually reassigned to Detroit's Eighth Precinct, and served as such for decades. It's got to be one of the most uniquely built police precincts I've ever seen, its architecture intended to mirror the Victorian style that was prominent throughout much of the Woodbridge neighborhood.