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Making the Case For The Herman Kiefer Complex

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In an article from February 2, Reuters reported that, "the Herman Kiefer clinic on Detroit's west side, will close its doors as part of a $2.5 million downsizing of the health department." The clinic was located in a gigantic building of the same name right off the Lodge and just south of Boston Edison (see for yourself in google street view). It's not going to be totally empty though, the Department of Human Services moved in at the end of last year. Just in time for part of the building to fall down on an employee in January. But the complex has a fan in Matt Clayson, the Director of the Detroit Creative Corridor Center.

Matt says it it time for HK to do more!

Its location is prime and strategic – immediately behind Henry Ford Health systems and proximate to M-10 – and, as such, it could play a key role in connecting Boston Edison, Lasalle Gardens and Virginia Park to the greater downtown area. It's scale is massive and institutional; and I like the Romanesque references found in its arches and brickwork. It has a unique campus setting that reminds me of Stroh River Place, sans river frontage. My concern is that this facility, if de-commissioned, would quickly fall victim to scrappers, vandals and urban explorers. Given its size and prominent location, a de-comissioned Herman Kiefer would be a Packard Plant part deux, having very negative consequences on the surrounding communities. Equally as tragic would be to see it meet the wrecking ball. It is essential infrastructure that needs to be re-purposed.

Matt thinks suggest a partnership between the city and a private operator such as the Henry Ford Health Systems to help keep the complex occupied (obviously, they'd need to invest in some renovations). With one department moving out, it seems like the ideal time to send in the work crews before things sit for too long. Here is hoping!

· Detroit mayor touts concessions; pressure builds [Reuters]
· Crumblings and Bumblings [Curbed Detroit]

Herman Kiefer Health Complex

1151 Taylor St., Detroit, MI 48202