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Clarifying the Claridge: Odd Building Has Beauty on the Inside

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Michelle & Chris Gerard

We're fond of poking fun at the Claridge for being rather unsexy. But it once was (at least 100 years ago) and still is, just beneath that facade. Curbed recently had the opportunity to tour the belly of the beast firsthand. And a shiny new belly it is! Renovations to the interior are ongoing, but a tour revealed completely rebuilt apartments at rates not too hard on the wallet. Ahead: Interior shots, a new dry cleaning establishment, and the two most gigantic private balconies we've ever seen. They're on the roof.

Opened in 1906, Claridge was once the Michigan State Telephone Building. The Michigan State Telephone Building has seen an interesting rotation of tenants over the last century. One old photo shows an exterior sign reading "Fred Astaire Dance Studio." According to Rob McCrary, a director with Princeton Management and our tour guide, the steel facade was likely added on top of the brick in a 1967-1970 renovation, back when steel was relatively cheap. The original facade is still down there somewhere. "People ask why we don't take off the steel...we just don't know what we'd find," Rob tells us. "Many of the windows were bricked up, or made wider."

The facade is getting a facelift, however. New brown paint will cover up the faded gold color, but we're most excited about some desperately-needed new windows, expected to arrive this summer. An enlarged set of glass front doors will soon make things more welcoming. According to Rob, the building's interior hadn't seen any attention since the 1970s, though several heavy-handed redesigns have wiped away most historic detail over the years.

Claridge has 42 total apartments, with studio ($700), one bedroom ($850), and two-bedroom ($1,200) units. The refurbished apartments feel brand new. All have stainless appliances and hardwood floors. There's no historic charm built in, but the provided finishes are a solid foundation on which to decorate.

Our favorite part: The penthouses. Two bright suites on the 7th floor (added to the building in 1950) each have their own private terrace running the length of the building. Each would host a pretty incredible barbecue. As they're still being worked on, rent on these units has yet to be determined. If they're anything like the rest of the building, they'll rent out quick—the last apartment was spoken for just as we arrived.
· All Claridge Coverage [Curbed Detroit]

Claridge House Apartments

1514 Washington Blvd. , Detroit, MI