Weeks after losing the University Club, Jefferson Avenue has lost another link to its historic grandeur. Fire swept through the abandoned Somerset Apartments over the weekend, turning the building into a smoldering pile of limestone and brick. The cause of the fire is unknown. As this is Detroit, it's likely to stay that way.
The Somerset first opened in 1922 as one of Detroit's few middle class apartment buildings, and was added to the National Registrar of Historic Places in 1985. It's unclear when things started going downhill, but we managed to dig up a few old photos.
The Somerset's last known owner (a Florida-based LLC called "Somerset 2002") paid $600K for the place in 2003.
Four years later, it was back on the market. Asking $1.7M, the owners advertised it as former "transient hotel" that could be "easily converted to upscale extended stay hotel/suites." That sad pitch failed attract a buyer, and the listing came down in 2009.
The Somerset also makes an appearance in 2008, when the Kilpatrick administration placed it on a list of 50 buildings targeted for demolition.