Update: City Council member Scott Benson tells Curbed that the interim Historic Designation was replaced with a Historic District study, which gives them the same level of protection that the designation would give them. The HDAB meeting is October 12 and these buildings should be on the agenda.
Update: Olympia states that “Routine abatement is being conducted on numerous properties – including these – throughout The District Detroit as we continue to evaluate possibilities for future development.”
Update: Swift tells Curbed that the historic designation was never fully implemented and that city council rescinded it.
Earlier this summer, two apartment buildings in Cass Corridor, near the new Little Caesars Arena, were threatened with demolition. Preservationists rallied and fought for an interim Historic Designation, meaning the Historic Designation Advisory Board would begin a study of the buildings and if the owner (Olympia) wants to do anything to the buildings over the next year, they’ll have to go through the Historic District Committee.
Yesterday, Homrich trucks were spotted outside the buildings, spurring speculation and fear of demolition. Amy Swift of Building Hugger confirms that demolition permits were pulled before the designation on June 17 and the permits should be frozen due to the interim Historic Designation. But no permit has been pulled to authorize abatement work.
“I think it is concerning enough that they’re doing abatement activity without a permit,” says Swift. An event is being organized tomorrow in order to organize a mounting online concern around these buildings. There was a large outcry in June when the buildings were threatened and although there are protections in place with the designation, Swift says there is concern based Olympia’s track record with demolition.
Curbed has reached out to Olympia, who has not responded yet.
The demonstration is planned at the buildings (2447 Cass Avenue) at noon on Thursday, August 24. We’ll keep you updated with more information as we receive it.