It's far from official, but the evidence points to the area bordered by I-75, Woodward, Cass, and Temple as the most likely site for Detroit's proposed Arena District. Despite being sandwiched by Downtown and Midtown, the area is so completely empty that you might think some natural disaster took place there. But it was not always this way. In fact, there used to be a bustling neighborhood here anchored by Park Avenue, which residents thought of as Detroit's answer to New York City's Fifth Avenue. Sound absurd?
Back in the economic boom of the 1920s, Detroit was in desperate need of some new hotel space. Many who owned property on Park Avenue formed the Park Avenue Association, intent on designing the street to emulate NYC's Fifth Avenue.
A very brief history:
Lew Tuller, having already built the famous Tuller Hotel near Grand Circus Park, built three more hotels on the northern half of Park Avenue. 1924 saw the construction of the Royal Palms, the Eddystone, and the Park Avenue Hotel. The neighborhood was prosperous until the end of WWII, when suburban expansion began draining the city of residents. Over the next several decades, what was once called the "Hotel District" was slowly demolished until little was left.
All three of Tuller's Hotels on Park Avenue are still standing today. The Eddystone and the Park Avenue Hotel are the two abandoned buildings within the proposed stadium site, and many hope they will be integrated into any new development.
Historic images via Virtual Motor City
· Ilitch Consultant Basically Reveals Desired Arena Site [Curbed Detroit]
· Park Avenue Historic District [Detroit Historic Society]
· Park Avenue Historic District [City of Detroit]
· The Hotel Eddystone [Historic Detroit]