Wednesday, February 16, 2011

David Stott Building: a Detroit skyscraper you may not know by name

It may not have the postcard recognition of the Ren Cen, nor the historic reputation of the nearby Book Tower, but the David Stott Building in downtown Detroit remains one the city's high-potential high rises.

Located at Griswold and State streets, adjacent to the recently refurbished Capitol Park, the 38-story Stott seems almost like the nearby Guardian Building's twin, if only fraternal. Its reddish-orange brick exterior is still in relatively decent shape compared to some of the demolition-bound towers in Detroit, evidence that the building had at least some occupants as recently as last year.

I believe the building is now completely vacant, but a redevelopment plan tossed around in the fall called for first-floor retail, five floors of office space, and apartments the rest of the way up. We'll keep a watch for any news about the Stott, but it certainly doesn't hurt that its stands in the center of Detroit's busiest redevelopment areas.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Imported From Detroit: Chrysler slogan takes on new life after SuperBowl ad

The Chrysler ad featuring Eminem that had (and still has) everybody talking following its airing during Superbowl XLV has spawned more than just conversation and web chat.

It also - even if inadvertently - launched a slogan that Detroit faithful immediately embraced, which in turn prompted Detroit-area company Wall-U to produce "Imported From Detroit" laptop skins and wall hangings. Available in 7-inch or 32-inch sizes, the "Imported From Detroit" removable stickers offer just one example of how the Internet is buzzing about the commercial, Eminem's appearance in it, the positive (and sometimes negative) reaction that followed it, and the slogan that appeared at its end. No doubt somewhere, t-shirts are already being printed.

To learn more about the Wall-U skins and wall hangings, click here to visit their Facebook page.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Mane Attraction: MGM Grand Casino lion takes over Cadillac Tower

We always knew a bottle of Jack didn't last long.

Sure enough, the enormous Jack Daniels advertisement that recently adorned the Campus Martius-facing side of the Cadillac Tower is gone, replaced recently by a mammoth ad featuring the MGM Grand Casino lion.

No word on whether this was in response to community objections, similar to those voiced when Billy Dee Williams and his Colt 45 billboards dotted the city. But it wouldn't be surprising, considering the Campus Martius area is about host hundreds of families and children for another Motown Winter Blast.

In any event, the MGM ad is a cool-looking billboard, probably my favorite piece of signage to hang from the Cadillac Tower since Barry Sanders occupied the space years ago. Is it too early to start hoping a picture of Ndamukong Suh ends up there?

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Sweetwater Tavern is a Detroit classic in historic Bricktown

With excellent food, a casual but upscale-leaning atmosphere, and one of the coolest bar names in Detroit, there's no denying Sweetwater Tavern's rank in the downtown Detroit bar scene.

But no matter what else they do right, Sweetwater's first impression will always be its most memorable. The little sliver of a building lives in Detroit's Bricktown Historic District, seemingly cut off from whatever it was once connected to, left to stand alone at the corner of Brush and Congress with nearby skyscrapers towering around it.

The aging three-story, red-brick building with the kind of detailed trim work that architects stopped using years ago almost seems like a model, particularly with the enormously shiny Ren Cen behind it.

The bar and grill inside, popular with both the lunch crowd and the after-work drinks gang, is a beautifully finished room, somewhat surprisingly given the gruffness of the exterior. The burgers are great, rumor has it the onion rings are too, and I still put the name "Sweetwater" right up there with Detroit's best. But visit the place one time and tell me you aren't most intrigued by the little brick building that still stands as evidence of a neighborhood that once was, a neighborhood that's long gone.