Surely that Chrysler commercial with Eminem will be the catalyst to restore Detroit to greatness. We are on the cusp of a renaissance.
OT - The Ruins of Detroit Captured on Film
You'll have to excuse me - its early - but were you being sarcastic in your post or do you really believe that Detroit is on the cusp of a renaissance?
The whote problem is Detroit boils down to, all other factors aside, that City Council has to be one of the most corrupt in the nation. Kilpatrick is in jail, Coyners got jumped by the FBI and word is the FBI still has at least 3 active investigations targetting Council members.
Sadly it doesn't matter if the people are ready, if the companies want to expand, the corruption on the Council will kill it.
This is a really outmoded and simplistic view of the situation. Corruption is a factor, but not the only factor.
Decades of racist transportation, housing, and development policies shattered Detroit. The current City Council is new and young... give them a chance.
I was being sarcastic about the commercial, but not the renaissance. At the very least, I think rock bottom is behind us. The big three are paying dividends and giving raises, buildings are being renovated, the school systems seem to be making positive progress, the presence of the entertainment industry is growing, property value decline has tapered off, and Kwame is in jail.
Also: The Lions look like a playoff team for next year (if there is a next year) and the Tigers should win the central.
but more of a possible scenario.
As someone who worked high up in DPS, I think Bobb has done a good job thus far.
DPS had been plagued for a very long time with, well, lots of issues. The bowl is the lack of students and funds, they are trying to mitigate the swirl as much as possible. You kinda have to close half the schools when you lose half the students in the next 5 years. This allows the district to renovate and focus on the core of what is left.
The sad reality is that half of the students if that will probably show up.
They are still in terrible shape, of course, but at least there is A PLAN. The budget is getting balanced (by harsh but necessary means), schools are being consolidated, and federal stimulus funds are being invested the the district. It will be better to have fewer schools with more students if it enables the district to provide a safe environment for teachers and students (and working clocks, plumbing, etc.). If Bobb's plan can at least lead to financial stability for the district, economics will take care of some of the overcrowding issues in the long term.
These aren't immediate solutions, but the steps being taken are aligned with the consolidation of the city itself, which is a positive sign because it demostrates communication among different departments in the city government. This is in contrast to the prior administrations where nobody - the public and the administrators - knew what was going on. Also, current developments are happening under the watch of federal and state governments and the general public, which will stem some of the corruption that led to the current state of affairs.
lol.. when your rock bottom looks worse than Chernobyl.. you got problems... Detroit is not going to come back as long as there's no good reason to move there.
Sad to see what became of that beautiful architecture
it put a lump in my throat. The vacant churches especially. Those housed lively congregations who at one point took pride in their community and house of worship.
have been renovated or are in the process:
Broderick Tower (the one with the whale on the side as seen from Comerica)
The Fort Shelby Hotel has been open for a few years
Old Cass Tech is in the early stages of demolition
The Book Cadillac building is a beautiful restoration with a Westin and condos in it.
No one ever bothers to widen the frame and show new Cass Tech next door when they show the ruins of old Cass Tech.
Because that doesn't match their viewpoint of what Detroit should be.
You never see pictures of the Compuware Building for the same reason.
These photos will be great reminders for future generations of how far Detroit fell and how far they had to climb to get out of this hole. The photos are simply amazing as they capture a moment in time that words could never fully describe.
could be such a beautiful building if renovated.
I've seen renovation estimates range from $80-300 million (at least according to Wikipedia).
It's such an icon for the city, but also an icon of the decay. If renovated it could represent a turning point for Detroit.
I agree but sentiment aside, what would making a new train station do? That 80-300million should be spent another way, such as clearing up the brown sites and demolition of all empty buildings. Symbols like this is just like putting lipstick on a pig. We need people moving into the city, reduction of corruption at the city level, and a severe reduction in crime and a new symbol won't do it.
on another, you can't ignore the power of a symbol of change. Look at Comerica park, that area is more vibrant than ever.
If investors can renovate and lure in a large number of tenants, the area around the station will start to gentrify. Corktown is already right around the corner, and this will help bring in new businesses to service the tenants in the building.
Maybe I'm way to sentimental about it, and there are a million other projects that need completing first...
People made the same arguments when the Renaissance Center was built. Individual buildings do not do much. Detroit needs to become a more livable city. For starters, it'd be nice if city residents didn't have to drive to the suburbs to do all their shopping.
That's a great point.
The closest Kroger or full grocery store is in GP or Dearborn. Closest Meijer is by Fairlane Shopping Center.
At the old State Fairgrounds on 8 Mile and Woodward. Every time I drive past there, I don't see a whole lot going on and I thought it was opening this year or next. It's still a heck of a hike for most city residents.
I guess if the starter (appetizer) is the shopping, I hope the main course is the school system.
The public schools are a mess, but unfortunately, that seems to be true in just about every big city. No one really seems to know how to educate large numbers of impoverished kids.
Looks like scenes from 28 days later...like everyone just disappeared ....especially the dentist office, I cant believe they just left behind all that equipment...that shit is real expensive
Those who enjoy this topic would love buildingsofdetroit.com I have no stake in the creation of this site, so this is not a 'promotion' beyond the fact that I have enjoyed it as a viewer. Fascinating content, put together well. I get down to Detroit on business every couple months and have really taken an interest in the buildings and the history of the ones that are no longer there.
Good site, thanks...some of the old postcards on the site are interesting to look at
I opened this thinking it was a post about a new Tom Sizemore movie.
As part of my photography blog, I've been going down to Detroit on a fairly regular basis for the past 2 years or so. I think Detroit is on the cusp of a renaissance. I am seeing alot more activity than I have in the past. They are in the process of renovating the fountain on Belle Isle and they have been slowly cleaning up other parts of the Island. Someone is moving into the Guardian Building and I think they are in the process of restoring a couple of the other buildings in the area around the Compuware Building.
As for the Michigan Central Building, as much as I would like to see it renovated...I don't think that is going to happen....I'd rather see it down.
Its a very sad story and a very hard lesson for a region to learn. Pittsburgh, on the other hand, is a shiny example of how to evolve. The steel industry in America has arguably collapsed much more drastically than the auto industry but Pittsburgh planned ahead and found ways to lure technology jobs and new corporations to the area. Detroit's planners failed to predict the inevitable downsizing of the auto industry and, as such, the city is in ruins. Its very very sad.
I've enjoyed Pittsburgh, and its got some great buildings from its steel tycoon years, but the downtown has strange "hours". It seems like the downtown completely clears out at night, and nothing remains open. I supposed everything can't be a New York or Chicago though.
It's because no one lives there (or, at least, very few people do). Almost all of the nightlife areas that exist now developed through Pennsylvania's brownfield renewal effort. Nightlife should start to return to the golden triangle (i.e. downtown) after Mellon Arena is demolished and that area is redeveloped.
That might happen, but the city is too damn compartmentalized. I can't go out in downtown (not that I want to) or the Strip district unless I drive down there. If the buses ran until 2 a.m. or Pittsburgh had even a modicum of a competent taxi service, the nightlife would be better distributed. Instead, it's all stuck in the South Side and Oakland (with smatterings of Lawrenceville, Shadyside, and Sq Hill).
Yeah, you're right, but I was specifically talking about the potential for nightlife in the new development area. That should bring some back to at least that part of downtown, but how knows if it will spread very far beyond the immediate area. I know that the goal is to have an arena district much like Columbus has, and I think that can be done, but there are just too many factors at play for any one thing to make things turn around for the entire downtown.
No doubt the bus and cab situation is definitely strange, though. For a city with such a good bus network, it's amazing how early it shuts down.
Station Square and the Waterfront could stand to be on your list, but generally I agree with you on where the nightlife is.
You're right, I forgot about those two. I really enjoy Station Square in the early night, but it's frustrating I have to go that far out to get to that type of nightlife. So it goes I guess.
Since I was there on business for 3 separate but entire weeks, it left little to do in the evening besides finding nightlife. There were very few bars open in the triangle, and we mostly hung out in the Fishmarket. We did go over some of the many bridges to the south side and to that newer former industrial area with the Bar Louie (Station Square?).
PNC Park is an absolute gem. I tell anybody who gives a damn about baseball to make a special trip there.
"but Pittsburgh planned ahead and found ways to lure technology jobs and new corporations to the area"
That's not really accurate. Much of what happened in Pittsburgh was reactionary. The difference, at least compared to Detroit, is that they reacted much more quickly, and did so effectively.
The city is also able to segregate itself a lot easier than Detroit would be able to. Many of the problem areas (The Hill, Wilkinsburg, Far East Liberty) are cut off from wealthy prominent areas by geography or train tracks. I don't know Detroit like I know Pittsburgh, but I imagine the flatness and distribution of land could be an issue.
Well, I was speaking solely of economic recovery, but yeah, there is definitely some truth to what you are saying. You can go a lifetime in Pittsburgh and never see the bad parts unless you intentionally seek them out.
Especially seeing the abandoned schools, with books scattered about the library. It does look like something out of a zombie apocalypse.
I'm in the restoration buisness here in Dallas and thats all I have done for the last 35 years. Its difficult to find investors for these large projects especially now with the economy in such a tailspin. Having said that some of the old buildings that were built back in the middle 1800s to early 1900s are some of the best constructed buildings that amaze architects and engineers to this day. It is a great feeling of accomplishment when we complete one.
interesting take, but I have to say I disagree 100%. Looking at the "ruins" pictures make me daydream about taking on a restoration project back in Detroit. They don't make me conclude 'Detroit is dead, nothing more can ever be done.'
Thanks for these. I live in Akron, Ohio, and I get sick of the constant talk of decay and ruin - there's lots of us living here, trying to do our best to be creative and entrepreneurial and using what's here already. I'm impressed and proud of Detroiters who are doing this great work and slowly reclaiming the city.
If you've got about thirty minutes, check this out.
It's a documentary with Johnny Knoxville about Detroit. He explores different parts of the city, and it does an excellent job of making Detroit look good, not bad. It's very cool.
I moved my family back to Detroit last year to help my ailing father and we moved downtown across the street from the RenCen. I've never had any issues with crime or panhandlers. I get asked at times, but it's no biggie to me. It just is what it is. For years, Detroit has tried to rebuild downtown and had no suitable plan for it to extend to the neighborhoods or keep pace in school.
When I lived in DC and other major cities, all the issues you mention were visible and experienced (crime, panhandling, drug deals).
And despite the parts of Detroit you saw, you should have gone to Indian Village, Sherwood Forest, Palmer Woods, Boston-Edison and other neighborhoods. Not only are those neighborhoods nice, those homes are beautiful. It doesn't translate well for those who want to seek out the bad in a city, but you would be wowed by the architecture.
Problem is, why would families move into the city when you have to go out to the suburbs to shop? I'm not talking about going to Whole Foods, but there's not a Kroger in the city. Nor is there a Meijer. There are no shopping malls either. It's hard to tell a family to move to the city when they have to do all their shopping 20-30 minutes away. Fixing that plus the schools and you could see things change.
I grew up in Metro Detroit and left in 1994. I think two of the most important factors that led to the downfall of this great city are this:
1. Mayor Coleman Young - his legacy of corruption and nepostism still exists today.
2. The K car from Dodge and others. The shift from quality and character to junk cars like the K car allowed Honda, Toyota and others to pass the Big Three by.
I'm not sure how much the auto industry had an effect on the decline of the actually City of Detroit during that time. The suburbs seemed to be thriving during that time and they were just as much dependant on the auto industry, if not more so.
I think the biggest impact on the demise of Detroit was the race riots. Certain people were already leaving the city before the riots happened and the riots kind of accelerated that flight. The King Coleman years didn't help those people come back.
I think the impact of the riots is overstated. There were urban riots all over the country between 1965 and 1968. I would say that Young's tenure was the straw the broke the camel's back for a lot of people. He was perceived, rightly or wrongly, as a race-baiter and not someone interested in reaching out to political opponents and suburbanites. It never cost him re-election but a lot of white people in the area gave up on his city.
But again - rioting took place in many cities during the 1960s. In most cities, the area where the rioting took place (like Watts in L.A.) remained in bad shape for a long time after, but usually the rest of the city was okay. What's different about Detroit is that neighborhoods far away from the rioting collapsed as well - neighborhoods all over the city fell apart. I don't think that can entirely be blamed on 1967. The rioting was concentrated in one area on the east side. Detroit's west side, at the time, was a thriving middle-class area. I think the city could have muddled through if it had had leadership prepared to reach out to the other side and work together. That didn't happen - or at least, white residents did not perceive it. I've asked a lot of suburbanites over the years why they ended up leaving the city. Sometimes they mention the riots, but more often they just say it was because of Young.
(On the topic of law and order, a lot of police officers quit the force during the early Young years. I don't know all the details, but the way he went about integrating it was very controversial at the time.)
THere was a fair amount of rioting up and down Grand River Avenue too, as well as Linwood and some other west side locations - I mean, it started at 12th and Clairmount approximately, I think.This is according to my parents, who lived in Rosedale Park until the mid 70s, at which time they moved to Northville.
The problem with the perception of the city was almost instantaneous, it seems. My parents bought the house in near Fenkell & Grand River for $27,000 in the 60s, and sold it in 1974 for exactly that amount. Declining revenues and a bureaucracy which refused to shrink accordingly destroyed the city budget certainly.
It seems like the inability of those people to return from the suburbs without the use of a car would play a role too. The white flight absolutely had an impact, but if those white folks can't get back into the city to patronize businesses, your business district takes a pretty huge hit.
It wouldn't hurt if there were more transportation options, but I don't think the problem was so much that suburbanites wanted to come downtown but weren't able to. By and large, people who could afford to leave did. The bigger thing is that, since the 1970s or so, a large number of suburbanites have had no desire to visit the city anymore. Attitudes are changing a little, but it's a slow process. Even just getting them to visit now and then isn't really enough. The city needs to find a way to convince some middle- and upper-class people to actually move back in. Right now the city population is very poor and its tax revenues are limited as a consequence.
The thing is that even though Coleman was a divisive figure, if he had a plan outside of "Let's keep downtown vibrant", then the city could have slowed down or reversed the urban flight.
Jobs, schools and shopping would keep people in the city. Jobs and shopping were moving outside the city. With it went the people. And those people were able to command and receive better schools. Since Coleman did not try to combat those issues, you got stuck with the situation we're in now.
If you get more companies like Compuware and Quicken to move downtown, along with options to shop, that will put more pressure on the city to fix the issues in the neighborhoods and schools. Money talks, and the city will eventually want to keep those tax paying citizens withiin the city limits.
Young, Archer and Kilpatrick didn't seem to have any large-scale vision for the city beyond making downtown and the riverfront more attractve. Bing's consolidation plan is intriguing. Finally the city is giving up the impossible dream of having 2 million residents again (even 1 million again is probably a pipe dream), and is thinking about being a functional large-but-not-huge city. It may take forever to implement, with all the different landowners, squatters and such, but if they can pull it off, it could really transform the city.
504 timeout fun!
There are talks about a light rail line extending from 8 mile and Woodward down to the RenCen. But that's coming at least 20 years too late.
Back in the 70s or 80s, there was a plan on the table for a rail line to go from Mt. Clemens to downtown, Woodward line and a line from the downriver area. There are rumors that the auto industry had a plan in shutting that down. I'm not sure how true that is, but there was a system on the table.
And what do we end up with? The People Mover. Since I live downtown, it's an excellent way to spend some time with my daughters. And it's great for going to Wings games or dinner, but that bad boy is a joke compared to other cities.
pics of old apartment buildings
I thought this was going to be some Lions videos...
Those pictures are amazing.
Grew up in the burbs, 52-60, then to AA.
Stunning to see what has happened to Detroit.
Tomorrow afternoon, we have a meeting downtown about the development of a light rail line that will extend from the State Fairgrounds on 8 Mile and Woodward (also site of new Meijer), ending near the Renaissance Center.
I know some may sarcastically was "Whoopie", but it's a great start. I was surprised at how bad Detroit rush hour traffic until I moved back here last year. I don't know how much of an increase people would see in their taxes, but the rail line would be heavily traveled. Hopefully, they can extend it out to the suburbs and maybe add some different rail lines as well. In DC, I have seen shopping and new residences built up around their Metro stations, so this could be a really big boon for Metro Detroit.
Also, various communities within the city are having meetings with city officials about the "shrinking the borders". In at least one neighborhood I know of, by Jefferson and Chalmers (near Gross Pointe), they are planning to raze the homes that they can purchase to allow for new businesses and homes. I don't think that's the plan in all of these neighborhoods, but that's the case in that one. I have no problem with that as long as the affected people get some type of incentive to purchase or rent if homes are placed back in those neighborhoods.
I know it's an exhaustive bit on a couple things, but I just wanted to throw it out there for those interested parties.
"In DC, I have seen shopping and new residences built up around their Metro stations, so this could be a really big boon for Metro Detroit."
Is DC the best comparison, though? The DC Metro intially (after the original system was built in DC itself, of course) extended from DC (where people worked) to the suburbs (where people lived). Eventually, a lot of jobs moved (or initially developed) in those suburbs. Unless I'm mistaken, a lot of the jobs have already moved from Detroit into the suburbs, so I'm not sure how effective a DC Metro-like system would work in Detroit.
When I moved out there in 1999, they were just extending the Metro - Green line out that way. Up to that point they were extended out to Virginia and Montgomery County in MD. The Green link used to stop in Anacostia which was still in the city and not exactly to greatest/safest of neighborhoods.
There was not much out there at that time except for Iverson Mall, which was not much to write home about. After they added those stations, townhomes and condos were built to allow people to live near the train line and not have to worry about fighting the commute every day. Along with the new housing, newer grocery stores were built and other vital shopping options were added.
For the people who work downtown and the businesses that are moving down there now, this would help them greatly. They would not have to sit in rush hour for long periods of time. Plus, for all the people who go to games, concerts and bars downtown, they could park closer to their homes and head down there.
And for those people who live in the city but need to do shopping or business in the suburbs, being able to utilize a system like that would be helpful. Why put 50 miles on your car every time you need to go shopping if you don't have to?
It's not the solution, but I think this would be a great part of a solution.