The Park Avenue Hotel vanishes for good Saturday when demolition crews will implode the 91-year-old building to make way for the new Detroit Red Wings Arena—more specifically, for its loading dock. Built by Detroit mogul Lew Tuller, and designed by storied local architect Louis Kamper (of Book-Cadillac fame), The Park Avenue served as sister hotel to Tuller's other properties including the Eddystone and the Royal Palm. Built in the Italian renaissance style, the The Park Avenue welcomed guests to its 252 lavishly decorated rooms starting in 1924.
Kamper's grand lobby for the hotel, a Tudor style space with faux stone walls, had a lounge at the rear complete with with wood paneled walls and chandeliers. Past that lounge, the guests found entry to the Park Avenue's dining room. Other in-house amenities included a tobacconist and barbershop. The Great Depression slowly eroded Tuller's empire, and in 1928, the Security Trust Company took the Park Avenue. By 1957, the Salvation Army had taken ownership, operating the building as a senior housing facility. By the time it closed for good in 2003, the Park Avenue had gone from luxury hotel, to senior living, to drug rehabilitation center.
In June, the Detroit Historic Commission voted 3-1 to give Wings' owner Mike Ilitch's Olympia Development permission for the demolition. The vote left many in the Motor City angry, with some questioning the legitimacy of the decision in light of Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan's move to replace two members of the commission just before the critical vote. Many are outraged by the decision, and profoundly concerned for the future of the adjacent Eddystone Hotel. Saturday, the Park Avenue will fold in a thunderous volley of explosives, as demolition crews clear this legendary piece of old Detroit to make way for newer, shinier things. The implosion is set for 8 am, and Curbed Detroit will be there to bid the Park Avenue a fond farewell.
·Park Avenue Hotel [Historic Detroit]
·Loading Bay 1, Park Avenue 0 [Curbed Detroit]
·Sculpture by Markus Linnenbrink [Markus Linnenbrink]
·Park Avenue Slated for Demolition [Curbed Detroit]
·Is Duggan Bringing Backroom Dealings Back to Detroit?/a> [Detroit Free Press]