Well the death fences are up, and they are pumping the basement. The time has come for the beautiful Lafayette Building to fade into Detroit’s sad history of neglect and demolition.
The Lafayette Building is an unused high-rise office building located at 144 West Lafayette Boulevard in downtown Detroit, Michigan. It was built in 1923 and occupies a triangular lot, bordered by Michigan Avenue, West Lafayette Boulevard, and Shelby Street. The building stands at 14 floors in height, with one basement floor, and 13 above-ground floors.The office building was designed in the neo-classical architecture style by C. Howard Crane who built many of Detroit’s theaters. It is built with mainly brick, limestone, and terra cotta.
The building contains 178 feet (54 m) of frontage along Michigan Avenue, 168 feet (51 m) of frontage along Shelby Street, 135 feet (41 m) of frontage along Lafayette Boulevard, and is 85 feet (26 m) in length along its east facade which stands mid-block. After years of mismanagement, and a declining tenant base, the building was finally shuttered in 1997. Two restaurants, Lafayette Coney Island and American Coney Island, both which claim to be the first coney island restaurant in the United States, are located at the foot of the building on West Lafayette Boulevard and Michigan Avenue.
Here is a black and white shot of the Michigan Avenue elevation – doesn’t this look like the Flatiron Building ? ?
But as you see from this angle, Lafayette has a ” V ” shape with a deep light court.
Here is a part of the lower street level facade that has some of the original surface revealed. Looks like the dark stone material was added as a “modernization” many years back.
Here are a few of the nicer “roof trees”.
Some of these trees have seen many seasons, but they may not have time this year to turn their leaves for autumn.
Survival Crackas ? heh
Okay, everybody repeat after me: “Demolition Means Progress…..Demolition Means Progress……”
I suppose it is only appropriate that any “transit center” in Michigan would be ensconced with orange construction barrels.
The new bus station is taking over for the “non” bus station over in Capital Park – which is currently just gobs of people standing around waiting for a bus on the sidewalk.
Interesting choices in the design, similar to structures used along the Riverwalk. We’ll have to take a peek inside next time I go by.