After months of delayed meetings and mysterious activity, the Detroit Historic Commission made a 3-1 decision yesterday in favor of allowing Olympia Development of Michigan to demolish the Park Avenue Hotel to make way for the new Red Wings hockey arena. The lot will specifically be used for a high-capacity loading bay.
While it was possible to build the future 20,000-seat arena and loading dock without disturbing the Park Avenue, Olympia argued that the option "is not optimal" because the loading dock would be smaller and would thus force traffic onto nearby streets.
[The Park Avenue Hotel in its heyday, with sister hotel The Eddystone behind it. Photo from the Walter P. Reuther Library, Wayne State University, via HistoricDetroit.org]
It's an inglorious end for the 13-story hotel that once was filled with all the glitz and glamour of the roaring 20s. Built in 1924, it featured hideaway wall beds, impressive chandeliers, private dining rooms, and imitation stone walls in the lobby. It later housed a senior housing complex run by the Salvation Army, which turned into a rehab center in the 1980s. Since the Salvation Army closed up shop in 2003, the abandoned hotel—complete with stripped paint, pipes laid bare, and graffiti'ed walls—has become another Detroit-ruin-porn photo opp.
· Panel OKs razing historic hotel for Detroit hockey arena [Detroit Free Press]
· Mysterious Trench Now Surrounds the Park Avenue Hotel [Curbed Detroit]
· Park Avenue Hotel [Historic Detroit .Org]
· All Red Wings arena coverage [Curbed Detroit]