SHARE

Four historic buildings in the area dubbed “The District Detroit” will find new life, as well as two new buildings built that will have 686 residential units.

The announcement today by Olympia Development outlined the fates of the United Artists building (developers are calling it 150 Bagley), The American (historically known at the Fort Wayne Hotel), The Alhambra, and Hotel Eddystone.

There also will be two developments built from the ground up. They will be called The Arena Lofts and One Eleven West. The total on this project will be in the neighborhood of $160 million.

The development is a partnership between Bagley Development Group (an African-American owned firm), American Community Developers, and Olympia.

139 of the units will be set aside for low income residents. The rest will be market rate, but no prices were released.

Let’s break it down, along with some interesting historic facts about the buildings that will be rehabilitated.

The United Artists Building (150 Bagley)

United Artists Building. Daily Detroit photo.

This 1928 building has seen a ton of plans floated for it over the years. It was designed by C. Howard Crane and will have 148 new residential units and first-floor retail just west of Grand Circus Park. Renovation is expected to start near the end of 2017.

But will the famous theatre inside be restored, as the Ilitch family did with the Fox Theatre years ago? That’s the one that has been featured in countless ruin photography posts. We reached out to Olympia and a spokesperson said:

The developer will evaluate the space with architects and engineers, and the state historic preservation office.

The theatre had such amazing acoustics that’s where the Detroit Symphony Orchestra would record.

The American (Fort Wayne Hotel)

The American, Detroit

This building, built by a secret society (the Knights of Pythias) in 1926. It’s right next door to another building built by a secret society, the Masonic Temple, on Temple Street.

The 11-story structure was originally a hotel with 300 or so rooms; the new iteration with 163 residential units and some retail. Renovation is expected to start in 2018.

Hotel Alhambra

Hotel Alhambra on May 24, 2017. Daily Detroit photo.

This is one of the few buildings left in Detroit built before the turn of the 1900s, and despite rampant speculation over the last few years it would meet an untimely end, this beauty is going to be saved.

Construction will start in 2018 and there will be 46 residential units and some retail.

Alhambra Hotel rendering. The District Detroit/Olympia Development

There are two interesting historical things of note on this 1895-1899-ish (there’s some debate as to the actual completion date) structure. One, it was reportedly a one time home to none other than Harvey Firestone – yeah, that guy who came up with Firestone Tires. They were the original tires on Henry Ford’s Model T.

The other is that it’s haunted, due to a series of poisonings by one tenant of their fellow tenants in 1905. Two died, but the alleged poisoner was acquitted.

Hotel Eddystone

Although its next door neighbor was demolished, the Eddystone will carry on. Planned to include 96 residential units and first-floor retail, it was designed by Louis Kamper and completed in 1924.

This is another one with lots of development ideas that fell through over the years.

The Eddystone was was one of four hotels that hotelier Lew Tuller built. People thought he was crazy to build them as they were “so far from downtown,” especially his first one in 1905 at Grand Circus Park (named the Tuller Hotel – that’s long demolished). 

For a time the Eddystone was a service center for the Salvation Army and then a homeless shelter. Renovation is expected to start in 2018.

The Arena Lofts 

Now we’re into the new stuff. Construction is expected to start this year on this mixed use building that will have 153 residences and first-floor retail. It’s going to be across the new “Chevy Plaza” from the arena. Oh, and there will be a rooftop deck.

One Eleven West

Also near the arena will be One Eleven West, a mixed-use building with 80 units and retail.