Detroit real estate is hot right now, and it could mean new life for a beautiful building that’s sat vacant for years and recently faced the distinct possibility of the wrecking ball.
The State Savings Bank was completed in 1900, when Detroit was a very different place. There were mostly horses pulling carts past the front door and the towers you see today simply didn’t exist. It was a big deal, in part, because of the New York architects McKim, Mead and White. Part of the footprint of the building is approximately at the location of the old Fort Detroit (which is also referred to as Fort Shelby and Fort Lernoult).
From the historical marker:
The three-story Neoclassical structure features a white marble exterior with bronze window units. Among its superbly crated interior features are carved Roman arched colonnades with bronze grillwork and gold-leaf detail on the two-story high ceiling of the main room. In 1907 People Savings Bank (established in 1871) merged with the State Savings Bank (established in 1833) and made this structure its home. Having outgrown these quarters by 1914, Peoples State Bank commissioned Detroit architects Donaldson and Meier to design the Congress Street addition. The building became the headquarters of Silver’s Inc. in 1980.
Since 1980, the building has had a variety of uses including offices for non-profits and retail, as well as dealing with vacancy.
“We have not determined what kind of use we would like to deliver for this building, yet. We will dive deep and research like we always do so we can make the best possible decision that fits best with all of downtown.” – Robin Schwartz, Bedrock Real Estate
However, Crain’s Detroit Business speculates this could be the future home to the Detroit car museum idea that Gilbert has floated in the past. The structure has the kind of architectural presence befitting a museum, but the devil is always in the details.
This brings the Gilbert-owned or leased total in Detroit to more than 65 buildings. Scroll down for a few more pictures of the place.
Peeking through the front door
Side of the State Savings Bank next to the Penobscot Building (Daily Detroit file photo)
Detail of front facade