In a surprising reversal of attitude towards Michigan Central Depot in Detroit, Michigan, the historic train station and adjoining Roosevelt Warehouse will stand if for a bit longer after a Detroit City Council Public Health and Safety Committee decided to delay a decision on demolishing the properties. The announcement was a reversal of some April commentary that called for an emergency demolition of the buildings, citing safety and health hazards.
Manuel Moroun, owner of the Detroit Bridge Company and of both affected structures, noted that he needed more time to negotiate with potential developers. He further elaborated that just last month the federal government was expressing strong interest in converting the station into a base for its Homeland Security operations in Detroit.
Only two miles away in downtown, the Lafayette Building may meet the wrecking ball after the Downtown Development Authority voted unanimously on June 25 to demolish the 14-story mid-rise. Vacant for more than a decade and fast deteriorating, the office structure once held offices for the Michigan Supreme Court among for more general functions and purposes.
The building would be landscaped with grass and bushes until such a redevelopment plan could be implemented for the triangular lot. Let’s hope that the lot can be put to better use than the one-story parking garage that replaced the historic Hudson’s Department Store property. Even better, let’s hope that the Lafayette can be fully restored, a cheaper and more viable alternative in today’s market.