Save a legendary Detroit landmark from the wrecking ball

The following copy is reprinted from an email sent by Cityscape Detroit. Cityscape Detroit is an advocacy group that promotes historic preservation in conjunction with planned development that improves the quality of life. 

The Lafayette Building is a beautiful, 1920’s era, fourteen-story building in downtown Detroit.  It has been vacant for several years, the city owns it, and the DEGC/DDA is going to tear it down.

Another Detroit landmark faces the wrecking ball
Another Detroit landmark faces the wrecking ball

FIRST AND MOST IMPORTANTLY, contact Mayor Ken Cockrel’s office IMMEDIATELY at the below email and phone number and tell him stop the demolition of the Lafayette Building. The deadline for companies to submit bids for demolition is April 2.

Mayor Ken Cockrel City of Detroit Email: kenneth.cockrel@detroitmi.gov

Phone: (313) 224-3400 Aide: Thelma Brown: thelma.brown@detroitmi.gov

You can also email and call the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation (DEGC/DDA) and tell them not to tear down this beautiful, old building.

George Jackson, President Detroit Economic Growth Corporation (DEGC/DDA) Email: gwjackson@degc.org Phone: (313) 963-2940

Email: Diane Stafford: dlstafford@degc.org

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION The Downtown Development Authority (DDA) has been under some political pressure to tear down the building, and has issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) to demolition companies. Demolition bids are due April 2, and, shortly thereafter, the city will sign a contract and the Lafayette Building will be torn down.

At this point, apparently the only way that the building can be saved is by the intervention of Detroit Mayor Ken Cockrel. The Lafayette Building is beautiful. While it is currently dirty, missing windows, etc, it has beautiful, pre-war character, and would be like a smaller Book/Cadillac Building if it was rehabilitated.

It is a fairly large building, and is an important part of Detroit’s streetscape and character. There are many millions of dollars of state and federal tax credits available to rehabilitate the building. There is money totaling perhaps 60% – 75% of the rehabilitation costs, and this money will be “thrown away” if the building is torn down. The proper thing to do is mothball the building – patch the roof and secure the openings – until the market strengthens, a private developer comes to the table, and the building can be rehabilitated.

Properly securing the building costs a fraction of tearing down the building and building a parking lot there. Restoring the Lafayette Building will have economic, social, historical, and physical benefits. It is important to act now.

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3 thoughts on “Save a legendary Detroit landmark from the wrecking ball

    1. In response to losing the Detroit Train Station, or Central Station. Oh no, It is such a nice building. I think it should be refurbished and made into a historical monument. I have plenty of memories growing up around the station. It should be preserved and have tours to show the greatness that it was. I remember it being a busy place with trains coming and going and a very busy place. Tearing this building down would be a very bad decision. It is a monument of Detroit and part of the History of Detoit.

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