Discuss Detroit DISCUSS DETROIT! Michigan Bell Building on Oakman Previous Next
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Ocean2026
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Username: Ocean2026

Post Number: 156
Registered: 11-2008
Posted on Tuesday, March 17, 2009 - 3:06 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

This is a huge structure. Its for sale for $800,000.

What is it like inside? Is the area appealing? Would there be nice city views from the top stories?

A few years ago the gov signed something about improving the Oakman area but ... doubt much has been done.
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Gistok
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Username: Gistok

Post Number: 6229
Registered: 08-2004
Posted on Tuesday, March 17, 2009 - 6:06 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

For many years that was the Michigan Bell Yellow Pages center (with the huge Yellow Pages sign on top).

Didn't Father Cunningham's FOCUS HOPE later take over the building?
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Staticstate
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Username: Staticstate

Post Number: 34
Registered: 07-2008
Posted on Tuesday, March 17, 2009 - 6:30 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

800k seems a bit steep in this market.
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Locke09
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Username: Locke09

Post Number: 116
Registered: 02-2009
Posted on Tuesday, March 17, 2009 - 7:54 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I feel old. I remember when that Yellow Pages sign actually showed the time.
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Eastsideal
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Username: Eastsideal

Post Number: 412
Registered: 10-2007
Posted on Tuesday, March 17, 2009 - 11:40 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

And the phone on the sign changed colors with the weather.
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Eastsideal
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Username: Eastsideal

Post Number: 413
Registered: 10-2007
Posted on Tuesday, March 17, 2009 - 11:46 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)



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Professorscott
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Username: Professorscott

Post Number: 1918
Registered: 12-2006
Posted on Wednesday, March 18, 2009 - 1:11 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Focus Hope had a big presence just to the east of there, but I don't recall seeing them in that particular building. (The Prof did a little work for FH, many years back.)

What is it at, Oakman and Rosa Parks? Or am I getting the cross street wrong? Because of the Lodge, that neighborhood is somewhat cut in half. It's probably no better and no worse than most near west side neighborhoods. I don't know how to answer "is the area appealing".

There aren't tall buildings anywhere nearby, so I would assume from the upper floors you can see quite a distance. The Prof has been on the 7th floor of one of very few buildings that tall in that part of the City, and the views are in fact quite striking, especially just after dusk.
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Bearinabox
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Username: Bearinabox

Post Number: 1328
Registered: 04-2006
Posted on Wednesday, March 18, 2009 - 1:13 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

quote:

What is it at, Oakman and Rosa Parks? Or am I getting the cross street wrong?

The cross street is Woodrow Wilson. Rosa Parks and Focus: Hope are a bit further west, on the other side of the Lodge.
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English
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Post Number: 492
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Wednesday, March 18, 2009 - 1:19 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

My old neighborhood! :-)
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Professorscott
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Username: Professorscott

Post Number: 1920
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Posted on Wednesday, March 18, 2009 - 1:21 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Ooh, so that's not a good sign. Woodrow Wilson is one of our abandoned bus lines.

You know there's not much going on in a neighborhood when DDOT abandons your street.

Thanks, Bear, I had got a bit discombobulated on my compass points, obviously.

By the way, I remember the phone changing colors. Does anyone recall the various colors and what they meant, weather-wise? I seem to recall some of your south Florida pastels: pink, light blue, yellow.
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Leannam1989
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Username: Leannam1989

Post Number: 224
Registered: 06-2008
Posted on Wednesday, March 18, 2009 - 1:36 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

No Street View. Live Maps.
http://tinyurl.com/d2exk9
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Locke09
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Username: Locke09

Post Number: 120
Registered: 02-2009
Posted on Wednesday, March 18, 2009 - 1:47 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I lived in that area as a child. The Yellow Pages Sign and the Hostess Cakes sign on the other side of the freeway always symbolized "home" for me.

I had forgotten that the phone changed colors. Can't remember what the different colors were.
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Lmichigan
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Username: Lmichigan

Post Number: 4296
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Wednesday, March 18, 2009 - 1:54 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I spent my earliest years in the area, too, and I also felt at home when I saw this and the Hostess sign, as well as the Fisher crown, especially at night. It's got a strong sense of place. If the area ever came back, it could certainly be something.

Anyone ever seen an old telephone building converted to residential use, though? I can't think of any, and I think its because the floorspace is even less conducive to residential conversion than many other types of buildings.

BTW, like so many other properties in Detroit, this is overpriced. And, for those that want a better placement of this, it's practically on the border of Detroit and Highland Park.

Note:

882 Oakman is Focus: HOPE's warehouse facility. One of the property highlights is that it can carry heavy floor load capacities and has tall ceilings, which would kind of point at what I hinted at about the only realistic restoration of the building is as an office or warehouse/industrial building. It would make an excellent warehouse for internet servers.



(Message edited by lmichigan on March 18, 2009)
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Jman
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Username: Jman

Post Number: 242
Registered: 10-2006
Posted on Wednesday, March 18, 2009 - 6:40 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

The old Massey-Fergeson plant at 1400 Oakman Blvd. became Oakman Distribution Center and then Ford Tractor before becoming Focus Hope.
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3rdworldcity
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Username: 3rdworldcity

Post Number: 1363
Registered: 01-2005
Posted on Wednesday, March 18, 2009 - 4:43 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I used to own some lots not too far from there. I called a friend who's an occasional volunteer (and donor)at Focus Hope. He heard that the building is (or was) under contract to a social service agency which intends to create offices in part of the building and create SRO residential units in the rest. SRO's are single person occupany residential apts which will serve the homless, who will receive counseling, treatment and so forth while they live there. Don't know the name of the agency and don't know if the deal is still viable.
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Busterwmu
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Username: Busterwmu

Post Number: 551
Registered: 09-2004
Posted on Wednesday, March 18, 2009 - 4:48 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

That's a great sign. Hopefully if they renovate it an agreement can be worked out to keep the sign in place, it provides an excellent sense of place!
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Gistok
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Username: Gistok

Post Number: 6234
Registered: 08-2004
Posted on Wednesday, March 18, 2009 - 5:09 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

When I see buildings such as the Oakman Building, the Lee Plaza Hotel, the MCS, the massive Hollywood Theatre (Fort St. & 18th St., razed 1963) and the Fisher/GM Building...

...I am each time reminded how everyone was thinking the massive growth that Detroit underwent in the first 30 years of the 20th Century, would continue on and these large buildings would be part of a larger concentration of big city high rises, rather than small islands of high density far from the downtown core.
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Gumby
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Username: Gumby

Post Number: 1003
Registered: 11-2003
Posted on Wednesday, March 18, 2009 - 8:11 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Not to distract from the conversation but what is the building being built just a block south of the Bell building in the link provided by Leannam1989?

It is on Woodrow Wilson between LaBelle and Kendall
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Lmichigan
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Username: Lmichigan

Post Number: 4300
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Thursday, March 19, 2009 - 12:01 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

It's a Presbyterian senior building. I think Focus: HOPE was part of the development team. Apparently, it's the first major new construction in the area in decades, at least that's what they claim.
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Ocean2026
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Username: Ocean2026

Post Number: 167
Registered: 11-2008
Posted on Friday, March 20, 2009 - 9:37 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I called and wrote Mr. Stullberg at NAI farbman a few times but he has not responded. Its been for sale for years and I tend to agree with Staticstate that its not worth $800k but not many buidings in Detroit are worth that anymore.
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Lmichigan
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Username: Lmichigan

Post Number: 4312
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Friday, March 20, 2009 - 11:46 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

What were you calling Farbman for?
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Ocean2026
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Username: Ocean2026

Post Number: 171
Registered: 11-2008
Posted on Sunday, March 22, 2009 - 9:36 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Lmicigan- I guess mainly curious - wanted information.

If and when a property sells down here, I would be able to buy something in that range -but the investment would have to be awfully appealing- a big bargain. This has been listed for years.

No one on here seemed to know the current condition of the inside etc and I figured if nothing else I could share some info -as I do on other fascinating properties.

Moot issue as he still hasn't returned email etc
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Ocean2026
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Username: Ocean2026

Post Number: 173
Registered: 11-2008
Posted on Monday, March 23, 2009 - 10:19 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Ok he just responded with a short note. Everything has been turned off for several years. mostly warehouse with offices on the top center.
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Mikem
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Username: Mikem

Post Number: 1926
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Sunday, March 29, 2009 - 8:56 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

The phone books used to be printed there.

I don't drive by too often but everytime I do, there is usually someone parked inside the fenced-in parking lot, a watchman I suppose, and there is a guard dog roaming the grounds or sleeping in his dog house on the backside.

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