John Metcalfe was CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, covering climate change and the science of cities.
The site will become the new home for the Red Wings.
Crews recently leveled the 13-story Park Avenue Hotel in Detroit, a 1920s-era luxury hotel designed by Louis Kamper, the architect who also birthed the city’s iconic Book-Cadillac Hotel. The building had long quit the hospitality business, having transitioned from a home for seniors in the 1950s to a rehab facility in the 1980s. That operation was shut down in 2003, leading to a plunge into decrepitude, reports the Detroit Free Press:
It would not take long for the building to be pillaged by scrappers and vandals. Windows were stolen. Copper pipes and architectural details were swiped. Graffiti was splattered inside and out. The once grand Park Avenue Hotel was yet another eyesore in a city littered with them….
In 2012 or so, the billionaire Ilitch family purchased both the Eddystone and Park Avenue buildings as it eyed the area north of I-75 and between Cass and Woodward avenues for its new hockey arena district. The Ilitches finally agreed to rehab the Eddystone if they were given permission to raze the Park Avenue.
The controlled implosion of the hotel was swift and spectacular—brutal, too, if you happened to be one of the historic preservationists looking on from a nearby park. The cleared ground will host the new arena for the Detroit Red Wings, which is scheduled for completion in 2017.
Here’s a drone’s-eye view from farther back (skip to 1:50 for the action):