The Abandoned Lee Plaza Hotel in Detroit

The Lee Plaza seems to be an abandoned 15-story elevated apartment complex situated at 2240 West Grand Boulevard in Detroit, Michigan, around one mile west from New Center alongside West Grand Boulevard. The state of Michigan has designated this as a historical landmark, and it has been listed to the National Register of Historic Places in November 5, 1981. It really is a 15-story building constructed by Charles Noble and built around 1929 which is an outstanding demonstration of Architectural Style from the 1920s.

What Happened to the Lee Plaza Hotel?

The Lee Plaza Hotel was opened in 1928 to Detroit entrepreneur Ralph T. Lee. The structure was built by renowned residential designer Charles Noble. This one was designed to be a high-end residence with hotel-style amenities. The edifice, which was adorned using sculptures and tiles on the exterior, competed for aesthetic attention in Detroit during 1920s with Book-Cadillac as well as Statler Hotels. The structure was completed in 1929, however Lee leased it over to the Detroit Investment Co. soon after.

The Detroit Investment Co., like so many other businesses, struggled financially during the Great Depression, as well as the Lee Plaza passed through several proprietors, several of whom Ralph T. Lee was interested in. Ralph Lee and indeed the Lee Plaza have both been bankrupt around 1935. The structure’s property was questioned in court till 1943. Unfortunately, luxury condo residing had gone out of popularity somewhere at period, many tenants have moved, so the hotel began renting rooms mainly temporary visitors.

The city of Detroit converted the structure into an elderly people’ residence about 1968. The Lee, meanwhile, started to lose tenants throughout the 1980s, and the complex was eventually abandoned around 1997. Ever since, most of the Lee Plaza’s architectural details have already been removed. The city recruited a redeveloper, and also in 2015, Craig Sasser, a builder, planned a $200 million reconstruction of Lee Plaza and the surrounding neighborhood. Nevertheless, when Sasser refused to buy the site, Harold Ince, interim chief executive of the Detroit Housing Commission, declared early October 2016 that perhaps the proposed renovation appeared to really be canceled. The city released a request for proposal for said Lee Plaza Building, a 17-story building on West Grand Boulevard at Lawton Street, in December 2017. Throughout March 2018, the city received 3 redevelopment plans for the historical structure, however determined in July that neither of them were acceptable considerable amount of work of the 1929 structure.

Fresh ideas are currently getting considered on a periodic basis for the structure, which now has completed a $400,000 two-phase stabilizing work. The city of Detroit reported in February 2019 that doing so would purchase Lee Plaza approximately $350,000 to a joint project of the Roxbury Group with Ethos Development Agencies, which wants to renovate the structure into 180 housing properties and shops. The very first stage of the $60 million development is set to begin building around 2022. The first section would be seeing nine levels transformed into 117 units for low-income elders.

Architectural Style

The Lee Plaza Hotel is indeed a 15-story metal and strengthened concrete slab with an orange painted brick facade as well as a pitched roof that was initially coated with red tiles but was subsequently revised with copper, which has already been removed. The architecture’s main level is a terra cotta-clad foundation with sculpted Palladian openings, plus large brick pillars rising to the top to provide greater vertical outlines. Terra cotta belt divisions, spandrel plaques, corbelled friezes, with window frames are among the decorative elements inserted. There are 220 one- to four-room apartment buildings on the inner surface. A large lobby with a vaulted ceiling, east and west lounge, two wood-paneled dining halls, as well as a ballroom all is located on the very first level.

“Peacock Alley,” the barrel vaulted room with just a beamed ceiling decorated in some kind of a beautiful color palette of blues, golds, as well as greens, originally called the major passageway. A cosmetic shop, a game room, a kid’s playhouse, as well as a butcher store as well as supermarket were once located on the ground floor.

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