With the old Book Depository and Michigan Central Station as neighbors, St. Vincent Middle School is among Corktown's most overlooked abandoned buildings. For now. If all goes according to plan, the building will have a future as one of the neighborhood's more prominent renovations. Detroit-based development company Quality Pheasant is working to renovate the 60s-era eyesore into a workspace geared specifically towards small businesses and freelancers.
St. Vincent Middle School is the last vestige of what used to be a school/church campus stretching an entire block of 14th Street, between Marantette Street and Dalzelle.
When the City of Detroit began demolishing vast swaths of Corktown as part of an "urban renewal" project in the 1950s, membership at St. Vincent began a long decline. The old school, church, and parochial residence were eventually torn down, leaving this building with a big, empty yard. The school closed in 2002.
According to Ryan Schirmang (managing partner at Quality Pheasant and founder of Signal Return), renovating the building's former classrooms into autonomous workspaces was a "natural fit." Things get even more interesting on the third floor, where the rooms that once housed the school's nuns (described as "dormitory-style cells") will become upscale, single-desk office suites available under short-term lease. St. Vincent has a chapel, which will eventually be turned into a cafe, stained glass and all. Like Detroit Institute of Bagels, Saint Vincent Corktown will get some funding from a federal grant meant to improve the neighborhood after the loss of Tiger Stadium. To recap, you'll be able finish up some work in a former nun's room, gaze out at Michigan Central Station, and grab a bite to eat in a chapel cafe. When Saint Vincent Corktown begins leasing next summer, it'll add yet another option to Detroit's impressive inventory of bizarre—and oddly inspiring—alternatives to the cubical.
· Saint Vincent Corktown [Official]