Today we continue our series on Re-Imagining Detroit Buildings, an unscientific approach to seeing what this city would like to see saved. Is there someone in-the-know you think we should hunt down? Send us a tip!
Joe Posch, winner of the Hatch Competition, and owner of Hugh (the upcoming store for bachelor-pad style) has classy taste. So it's not surprising that he is voting for a men's club from a bygone era to get a Detroit makeover. Here's what he had to say for our ongoing series on re-imagining Detroit buildings.
The University Club has taken quite a hit under its new owner, who wants to raze it and build a party store, but it is the perfect scale for a true boutique hotel and restaurant. Plus it might give me a new place to recommend to the dozens of people who think I have some secret perfect venue idea for a wedding (I don't, really). While we're not a fan of anything that invites bridesmaid dress disasters, we see his point and it sounds like the way to go. This building was designed in the 1920s by the architect, William E. Kapp, of the Smith, Hinchman and Grylls firm and is considered Collegiate Gothic style. It's a beaut! But Joe's thinking bigger picture here with another suggestion just down the block.
The Somerset Apartments on the other side of the park could be highly attractive, and it would be a real shame to lose another historic apartment building, especially one so close to the Central Business District. Restoring these two buildings would go a long way toward preventing East Jefferson from becoming an increasingly unattractive stretch of strip malls and derelict buildings. Their relationship, bookending the park, actually makes the restoration of each greater than the sum of its parts, and with the venerable Yondotega Club secretly nestled in across Jefferson, you'd end up with a really nice punch of Historic Detroit.
Our sources (which are also your sources because they are wikipedia!) say the Somerset has a whopping 80 units and over 45,000 square feet. It is
severed from Lafayette Park by the highway, but still oh so close to being part of a community known to be pretty passionate about architecture. The proximity to the river should make for excellent views and they'd be great apartments for Belle Isle fans, Ren Cen employees or Dequindre cut bicyclists. Basically, there are enough amenities to go around so let's hope that just maybe the investor interested in this area, Tony Goldman, had this in mind. [Ed note: The Somerset apartments borders the The Greening of Detroit park and is actually the southernmost portion of the Lafayette Plaisance meaning it's really part of Lafayette Park after all.]