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Detroit’s Michigan Theatre named one country’s 10 coolest parking structures

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It’s the only building on the list that wasn’t built for parking

The Washington Post/Getty Images

Detroiters have always known about the Michigan Theatre and its unique parking deck. Now national publications are catching on, too.

In a list compiled by architecture magazine Architizer and Looking4.com, the Michigan Theatre was recognized as one of “10 amazing parking structures across the U.S.” The post calls for readers to vote with a winner being announced later in the summer.

Here’s what the article says of the former theater.

Once a 4,000-seat concert hall and movie house—the site of black-tie events for the world’s most prominent musical figures—Detroit’s Michigan theatre now serves primarily as a parking garage. The striking Renaissance Revival building was constructed in 1926 and became renowned for its decadence, embellished with 10-foot crystal chandeliers.

In 1977, it was gutted to make room for a 160-space parking deck to service employees at the adjoining Michigan Building, which would have confronted structural complications if the theatre had been demolished.

It’s joined on the list by other structures in Miami, Kansas City, and Chicago. But the Michigan Theatre is the only building on the list to have been adapted into a parking structure—the other nine were all built for parking.

Historic Detroit also notes another interesting fact about the deck.

“In a twist that is as sad as it is ironic, the theater was built on the site of the small garage where Henry Ford built his first automobile, the quadricycle. (The garage was disassembled by Henry Ford and moved to his museum in Dearborn, Mich.)