A protest outside of the United States Motors Building on Woodward Avenue drew dozens of protesters on a cold Saturday afternoon, as the building looks to be threatened with demolition. Preservationists fear the building, owned by Olympia Development, could be torn down in favor of another surface parking lot.
Signs ranged from “The Parking District Detroit” to “This building wasn’t abandoned when the Ilitches bought it” to simply “Enough!”
Along Cass Avenue especially, many parking lots have popped up in recent years in place of buildings near the newly-opened Little Caesars Arena.
Preservationist Mark Hall told Curbed that they were down there in order to, “Raise awareness for another historic building that’s in danger of being demolished. At the intersection where we’re standing right now, there are several buildings that were once vacant and are now housing some of the most popular restaurants in the area.”
Hall says that with this building, the water has been cut and the street is being dug up around it, which is often a precursor to demolition.
Other buildings in the area, including the Woodstock Apartments and various buildings at Cass and Henry have also been threatened with demo. Hall states that hundreds of apartments could be added to the district by rehabbing these buildings.
In the past week, both the Detroit Free Press and Daily Detroit have called for an end to more surface parking lots in this district.
Here are more scenes from Saturday’s protest.