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Historic Stone Soap Building first up for RiverFront redevelopment

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As part of the massive plan to redevelop the East RiverFront, the Detroit RiverFront Conservancy included historic redevelopment of the largely empty and decaying warehouses and buildings between Atwater and Jefferson. The first one on the list is the Stone Soap Building and the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation just released the RFP for it.

It’s one of those buildings where, if you’re walking along the Riverwalk and look toward the city, you’d likely think, “Why doesn’t someone do something with it?” Hopefully this time, someone does.

The building is located at Franklin and Riopelle, on .76 acres. It’s a three-part industrial structure, with the first two buildings built in 1907, and a three-story addition in 1927-29. Two of the structures have wood framing, while the other has concrete columns and floors. The three buildings total 88,369 square feet.

The adaptive reuse of this building should align with the ideals outlined in the East RiverFront plan: Community, equity, efficient urban design. For this redevelopment, the RFP stresses authenticity, in that,

“The East Riverfront has an industrial heritage reflected in the architecture of the Stone Soap Building. The proposed development should serve as a leader for sound urban design and development principles that complement the nature of the district. Development should promote the heritage and historic character in and around Franklin Street. Special consideration shall be given to projects that add increased vertical density in a unique modern intervention to the existing structure and demonstrate the feasibility and sensibility of such improvements.”

The full RFP can be found here. The deadline to submit a proposal is May 1, 2017 by 5:00 pm.

One part of the RFP we were drawn to was its renderings of possible designs incorporated into the redeveloped RiverFront. What do you think?