Discuss Detroit DISCUSS DETROIT! Everyday citizen's role in preserving the Book Tower Previous Next
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Masterblaster
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Username: Masterblaster

Post Number: 238
Registered: 03-2005
Posted on Saturday, March 14, 2009 - 1:02 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

It has been stated in the "Book Tower fate" and "New Bookies opens tonight" threads that the Book Tower is being broken into, stripped, and vandalized

In a thread entitled "Book Tower fate", the poster "Registeredguest" offered this suggestion to help save the building:

"How about this - if you're all so concerned, why don't you create a citizens patrol which patrols the vacant building during random hours to look for signs of trespass, vandalism and foul play. It is pretty effective in certain neighborhoods, resulting in multiple arrests."

Would anyone be willing to take action as suggested above to preserve this building? I would be, but I would need some help. Or is taking such action irrational or unrealistic?

Less drastic steps to preserve the building would be to:

1) contact the company who owns/manages the building DAY AND NIGHT to implore them to properly secure their building.

2) contact the city of Detroit Buildings and Safety Department DAY AND NIGHT to ensure that that department is doing all it can to ensure that vacant buildings are secured.

I think that "patrolling the vacant building during random hours to look for signs of trespass, vandalism and foul play" wouldn't be that much of a burden.

If say we could get a crew of 10 people, 5 teams of 2 people to periodically check around the perimeter of the building every 3 hours or so until the owner of the building takes care of responsibility.

WHAT DO YOU THINK?????
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Detmsp
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Username: Detmsp

Post Number: 82
Registered: 08-2008
Posted on Saturday, March 14, 2009 - 1:09 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

i would add call the city council non-stop telling them to provide a property tax incentive for owners of abandoned buildings that are properly secured.
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Russix
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Username: Russix

Post Number: 210
Registered: 11-2006
Posted on Saturday, March 14, 2009 - 1:18 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Pooling money to install a silent alarm or a few security cameras would go farther to stop tresspassing and possibly convict scrappers. You could organize a non-profit security service and offer it to the owners.
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Bob
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Username: Bob

Post Number: 1318
Registered: 11-2003
Posted on Saturday, March 14, 2009 - 1:35 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Someone should get the mayor in on this idea. He could be convinced because it would good for his reelection campaign to have a success like this being started. The Clownsil will just screw it up.
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Andylinn
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Username: Andylinn

Post Number: 1111
Registered: 04-2006
Posted on Saturday, March 14, 2009 - 3:36 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

If this were serious, I would be in to help. I think that pooling some funds to get a small security system set up / cameras / silent alarm might be the best... especially if the mayor were in on it.
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Cloud_wall
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Username: Cloud_wall

Post Number: 38
Registered: 02-2009
Posted on Saturday, March 14, 2009 - 4:02 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Add the City Law Department Property Division to the call list.
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Gsgeorge
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Username: Gsgeorge

Post Number: 759
Registered: 08-2006
Posted on Saturday, March 14, 2009 - 5:40 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I would be willing to help. I think we pool money together to get cages on the windows & doors with locks. You'd have to clear the building of and people and squatters and then install the cages. If the owners want the keys, they're gonna have to make some promises to secure the place, keep it up, and be willing to pay for part of the installation. if not, then we hang on to them, god knows we'd be better at keeping the building safe than some outtatown LLC.
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Wolverine
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Username: Wolverine

Post Number: 619
Registered: 04-2004
Posted on Saturday, March 14, 2009 - 7:43 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I wonder how much VPS cladding costs per month? Even if a group can only afford it for two years, it can still make a difference. When more money comes in, I'd be willing to add some to the pool if this indeed becomes serious.
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Buckster1986
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Username: Buckster1986

Post Number: 28
Registered: 08-2007
Posted on Saturday, March 14, 2009 - 11:56 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I was actually thinking about this idea. I would be willing to help.

Detroit Preservation Corps. (DPC)

"Protecting the past for the future."

"Helping save today for tomorrow."
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3rdworldcity
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Username: 3rdworldcity

Post Number: 1355
Registered: 01-2005
Posted on Sunday, March 15, 2009 - 9:56 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Did it ever occur to anyone that the current owner (whoever that may be) doesn't want the building preserved? Or, doesn't care?

That building has never been an asset. It has been a liability for over 30 years. It was a money loser when it was controlled by Manny Harris in the early'70's, and before that.

John Lambrecht paid $300,000 or less for the building 20 years ago and that was of course a terrible investment. (Travelers Insurance offered it to several folks for $300,000 before Lambrecht bought it, and everyone but John told Travelers it would have to pay them and cover 5 years of losses to get them to take title.)

Does anyone have any idea what the building is "worth" now? The Book is for buying and selling, not owning. It has survived still standing only as a result of the operation of the greater fool theory.

There's not enough money in the world to rehab that building. There is no way now or in the future, under any scenario, that the Book can be economically viable.

If everyone thinks it's such a great building, take up a collection and buy it. Personally, I think it's an ugly monstrosity and a blight cancer on downtown Detroit and should be demolished. That's a view that's as valid as that of any preservationist's.
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Buckster1986
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Username: Buckster1986

Post Number: 29
Registered: 08-2007
Posted on Sunday, March 15, 2009 - 10:09 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

How is it an eyesore. Maybe the current use is wrong. Office space is everywhere. How is it no worth being preserved when the Book Cadillac was in far worse shape and is back to its glory?

A building like that will never be built again. If they aren't saved they are gone forever.
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Andylinn
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Username: Andylinn

Post Number: 1112
Registered: 04-2006
Posted on Sunday, March 15, 2009 - 12:20 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Hey, maybe chipping in to buy it is a better idea. pool together 300k and each take a few floors for tricked out apartments. The guys from the "other forum" can hang out on the fire escape.
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Wolverine
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Username: Wolverine

Post Number: 622
Registered: 04-2004
Posted on Sunday, March 15, 2009 - 1:57 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I agree, Buckster. The Book is actually in relatively good condition at the moment. I've heard reports that the words about scrapping and vandalism are a bit exaggerated. There's some, but the Whitney Building is in far worse condition.

I don't believe it's a problem with the building, but the investors themselves. Detroit's current tendency to attract shady skyscraper owners I hope will end. When the economy picks up, I also hope there will be some respectable developer out there to rehab it into condos and office space.

Once this thing becomes clean and scrubbed, I don't think it will look as much of a disgrace. But it will look far worse if no one does anything to keep it sealed.

Demolition may rid the problem quickly, but I don't think downtown can afford to lose much more building stock.

I don't care if you think the Guardian, Buhl, and Penobscot are the crown jewels of the world. Downtown Detroit has become an embarassment with its swaths of empty lots and disjointed, superblock environment. I've heard more worse comments about how flat the built landscape has become then the boarded up buildings.
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Bearinabox
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Username: Bearinabox

Post Number: 1316
Registered: 04-2006
Posted on Sunday, March 15, 2009 - 2:07 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

quote:

I've heard more worse comments about how flat the built landscape has become then the boarded up buildings.

I was just thinking that yesterday, waiting for a bus along the Fisher service drive. I could see down Clifford all the way to that white car-storage warehouse Ilitch is halfway through knocking down, and was thinking about how, when it's gone, you'll have a clear sightline to the UA, with nothing but parking in between. If Ilitch takes that down too, what'll block that view next? Trolley Plaza? Two blocks from the heart of downtown? That's no way to have a city. The layout of the streets downtown naturally makes the sightlines interesting, but the effect only works if there are actual buildings there.

Some will point out, correctly, that the sightlines downtown are the least of our problems, but we're not solving any of the other ones either, so I might as well bitch about this one.
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Gthomas
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Username: Gthomas

Post Number: 175
Registered: 09-2004
Posted on Sunday, March 15, 2009 - 3:19 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Hopefully they do rebuild this area and book tower....maybe consider turning the building into a Ritz Carlton residence & hotel. That would be nice.....maybe bring much needed business along washingston blvd and michigan av. Once the rosa parks transit center opens that area will see lots of foot traffic along those routes.
If Quicken Loans still decide the statler site it will give a little boost to that area also....I wish for the best. That area can really be a designation tourist spot if such development happens- Possible Hockey Arena behind fox theatre, bars and residential lofts, Quicken Loans headquarters, Rosa park transit center, possible Book towers development, David Whitney building, and Broderick towers lofts, and M-1 Rail transit along woodward. Which will create more dense mixed development once up and running.

Also, you have movie studios and offices being develop in the old MGM building and old Free Press building nearby. Keep in mind that the rosa park transit center will be 24 hours so the area will always have a people presence around the clock, which is essential to bring that asset to that area. Oh and not to mention, Capitol park development and the David Stott building development which include condos, lofts and retail in and around capitol park.
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321brian
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Username: 321brian

Post Number: 639
Registered: 02-2006
Posted on Sunday, March 15, 2009 - 3:40 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

You know what would be nice?

Affordable condos. 1,2,3 bedrooms from $45,000 to $100,000. 500-1000 ft2. With reasonable maintenance fees.

You can get that and more in the suburbs. People on this board and developers need to realize that "one bedrooms starting from $165,000" isn't going to work anymore.

Under $100 a square foot is what the market needs.
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3rdworldcity
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Username: 3rdworldcity

Post Number: 1357
Registered: 01-2005
Posted on Sunday, March 15, 2009 - 7:52 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

"You know what would be nice? Affordable condos......under $100 sq. ft......."

I'll tell you something else that would be nice. I'd be 35 years younger and look like Brad Pitt.
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Busterwmu
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Username: Busterwmu

Post Number: 544
Registered: 09-2004
Posted on Monday, March 16, 2009 - 4:18 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I heard that a pump was installed over the weekend to dry up the basement - but I have no proof however...
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Pcm
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Username: Pcm

Post Number: 28
Registered: 01-2009
Posted on Tuesday, March 17, 2009 - 3:47 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I think VPS security is the ideal route. Go to their website, vacantpropertysecurity.com.

Click on "The VPS Customer" link and you'll notice their invitation to inquire about their pro bono program.
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Pcm
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Username: Pcm

Post Number: 29
Registered: 01-2009
Posted on Wednesday, March 18, 2009 - 2:21 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

No?

Nothing?

Okay.
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Staticstate
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Username: Staticstate

Post Number: 35
Registered: 07-2008
Posted on Wednesday, March 18, 2009 - 3:51 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

that VPS looks like a pretty effective system, Pcm. I don't know if anyone has any sort of interaction with the building ownership - The article stating the building was closing stated that there wasn't much information about who the owners are and how to contact them.

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