Like the sea of parking lots that surround it, the Loyal Order of Moose lodge is owned by the Ilitch organization. After decades of vacancy and decay, the building's chain link fence was recently upgraded to a heavy-duty barrier. When two backhoes parked on the property yesterday, it seemed inevitable that the Moose would join Hotel Charlevoix, Chin Tiki, and dozens of other former neighbors in Building Heaven.
Rather than gleefully ripping at the building, we found the backhoes digging up the Moose's surrounding sidewalk, repairing the basement ceiling. Turns out, the sidewalk is actually above part of the Moose's basement, which extends out several feet beyond the facade's footprint. A DetroitYES user claims this extension once had a glass roof, providing the basement with natural light. The glass was eventually replaced with concrete, which had begun caving in.
Though they didn't wish to be named, three of the workers have told us that basement repairs were the first part of a full renovation. As usual, Olympia Development has not responded to our inquiries. But there's one major reason to believe a full restoration is true: The Moose is within the bounds of the Arena District, meaning it's eligible for millions in public funds. Seems like a pretty good incentive to renovate, right?