Discuss Detroit Archives - Beginning January 2006 Detroit Observatory Previous Next
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Jenay
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Username: Jenay

Post Number: 146
Registered: 06-2005
Posted From: 68.41.224.19
Posted on Saturday, February 11, 2006 - 11:11 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Was there an observatory deck in the Penobscot that was open to the public at one time? Does anyone have any info?
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Motorcitymayor2026
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Username: Motorcitymayor2026

Post Number: 500
Registered: 10-2005
Posted From: 71.10.63.140
Posted on Sunday, February 12, 2006 - 12:14 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I heard that there was, and that there was an outdoor portion to it...i guess on one of the balcony's way up there. God, I'd love to sit up there for a day and see the world!
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Everydayislikesunday
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Username: Everydayislikesunday

Post Number: 198
Registered: 12-2004
Posted From: 68.41.153.99
Posted on Sunday, February 12, 2006 - 12:41 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Im not sure about the Penobscot, but the one at the Guardian Building closed years ago. It was adjacent to the restaurant that used to be on the 34? floor of the Guardian. The space is now used for banquets and meetings. They replaced the large double doors that gave access to the walkway with large windows, too.
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Jmarx
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Username: Jmarx

Post Number: 20
Registered: 01-2005
Posted From: 69.81.180.215
Posted on Sunday, February 12, 2006 - 1:43 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

OK - This might sound a bit naive, but I'm curious if there is an observatory deck on any Detroit skyscraper now? (I don't think there is, but also haven't really investigated this either)
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Chow
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Username: Chow

Post Number: 255
Registered: 10-2003
Posted From: 68.42.171.71
Posted on Sunday, February 12, 2006 - 1:46 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

penob
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Jams
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Username: Jams

Post Number: 2632
Registered: 10-2003
Posted From: 68.79.121.199
Posted on Sunday, February 12, 2006 - 2:03 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I've been up there, it's a small area.

I started up the ladder into the ball, but my fear of heights got to me. My buddy stood on top of the ball.

So far my list of roofs;
Penobscot
Buhl
Ren-Cen
150 West Jefferson (weird to look down at the fireworks)
Blue Cross (watched a storm make a reverse over Lake Ste Claire)
Brodreck Tower
Fox Theatre
Statler
And a few not tall enough to mention.
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Fho
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Username: Fho

Post Number: 40
Registered: 11-2003
Posted From: 68.84.186.249
Posted on Sunday, February 12, 2006 - 4:31 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

The Preservation Wayne skyscraper tour used to take you up to the Penobscot's observation deck. I've been up there three times on that tour. It's a relatively small area, but a great view. On a clear day you can see the tall buildings of Pontiac.

I believe it was open to the public initially but has been turned over to transmission equipment, and has recently been off limits due to more electrical upgrades.

I think it cannot be opened to the public as it once was due to the fact that there is no handicap access to it. After the last elevator stop you still have to climb seven flights of stairs to get up there. It's quite a dizzying view down the stair shaft of the Penobscot.
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Wolverine
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Username: Wolverine

Post Number: 118
Registered: 04-2004
Posted From: 141.213.196.136
Posted on Sunday, February 12, 2006 - 5:42 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

A shame Detroit skyscraper owners could care less about public interest in their buildings. Even the RenCen observation deck isn't completely public.
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Huggybear
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Username: Huggybear

Post Number: 142
Registered: 08-2005
Posted From: 68.251.25.213
Posted on Sunday, February 12, 2006 - 11:36 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)


quote:

A shame Detroit skyscraper owners could care less about public interest in their buildings. Even the RenCen observation deck isn't completely public.


People who own buildings are not running a charity for people who want to see things from high up. nor should be they expected to. We have had several suicides and quite a few attempted suicides from buildings downtown in the past couple of decades. And with winds on a lot of those roofs, it just isn't that safe. Too costly for security and insurance.
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Motorcitymayor2026
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Username: Motorcitymayor2026

Post Number: 501
Registered: 10-2005
Posted From: 71.10.63.140
Posted on Sunday, February 12, 2006 - 12:09 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Even a indoor obersvation deck would be nice like they have in Chicago.

I am sure a building owner who faces only a 60% percentr capacity rate, would be able to clear out an office or meeting space to allow for a viewing area. Like Chicago, charge $5 or %10 bucks, and have a souvenir shop up there as well to make some revenue. Your normal lobby secretaries could handle the entrance charges, and you would only need a couple people up top.
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Huggybear
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Username: Huggybear

Post Number: 143
Registered: 08-2005
Posted From: 68.251.25.213
Posted on Sunday, February 12, 2006 - 12:22 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)


quote:

Even a indoor obersvation deck would be nice like they have in Chicago.

I am sure a building owner who faces only a 60% percentr capacity rate, would be able to clear out an office or meeting space to allow for a viewing area. Like Chicago, charge $5 or %10 bucks, and have a souvenir shop up there as well to make some revenue. Your normal lobby secretaries could handle the entrance charges, and you would only need a couple people up top.


Most businesses and buildings today do not have "lobby secretaries" or receptionists on each floor - this went out about 20 years ago, and security is handled on one floor for each business (or at the ground level lobby). So you would have to post someone up there to keep an eye on things. I don't think there would be a business case for that given the downtown foot traffic.

Plus, in a lot of buildings you would have to sink a lot of money into cleaning up vacant space and making it safe. That means new floors, abestos abatement and nailing the windows shut. I would bet that across all of the older tall buildings, the highest habitable floors and spaces make up that 60% that is occupied.

And look at Coach Insignia (the Summit). They ended up dropping the observation charge - and that's the best view all the way to Chicago.
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The_rock
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Username: The_rock

Post Number: 1008
Registered: 11-2003
Posted From: 66.74.53.248
Posted on Sunday, February 12, 2006 - 12:25 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

everyday/detroit-----our law firm occupied both sides of the southend of the 32nd floor of the Guardian building from 1960-1982. The restaurant used to be on 32 before we were there. It was called the Aztec restaurant, and I am told it was very popular--like the Savoyard restaurant across the street in the Buhl building.
I was not aware the Guardian Building ever had an observation deck as such, but outside our windows on 32 we each had small balconies that we were not allowed to go out on and stand.
My "observation deck "in the Guardian building was the roof, easily accessed by the back staircase. Great view, could see Monroe looking down river and Mt. Clemens up Gratiot Ave from the East side. I watched the Ren Cen being built, and we launched several balsa wood airplanes from that location.
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Wolverine
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Username: Wolverine

Post Number: 119
Registered: 04-2004
Posted From: 141.213.196.136
Posted on Sunday, February 12, 2006 - 12:27 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I'm sure a fee could offset some of those security costs.

I don't see how winds or suicides would be much of an issue on an observation deck if you put up a glass fence to solve these problems. They did that on the Empire State building and it didn't seem to be a problem.

I've been up to the top of the Broderick Tower roof on what was one of the windiest winter days last year, and not once did I feel like I was going to be blown off the roof.

Funny, that the building manager of the Broderick let me go up in his tower with friends after signing a release form. But the people at the Penobscot won't allow a group of architecture students go to the top floors even when we tried to organize such an event months in advance and even offered to pay them.

I'm not demanding that all building owners open their rooftops up. But it seems silly that some of the most significant landmarks in the city should be closed off from the public which is interested in them.

(Message edited by wolverine on February 12, 2006)
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Motorcitymayor2026
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Username: Motorcitymayor2026

Post Number: 502
Registered: 10-2005
Posted From: 71.10.63.140
Posted on Sunday, February 12, 2006 - 12:34 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Huggybear,

I mean the ground floor receptionist. Yes, you would need a couple of people up top. And about asbestos issues and whatnot, use a newer building. The Madden Building, the old Mich Cons Gas building, Comerica tower, something. I am sure the Penob. and Guardian have an area that would only need minor cleaning. It also doesnt need to be the top floor by ay means.

This setup works in Chicago, but then again were Detroit.
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Motorcitymayor2026
Member
Username: Motorcitymayor2026

Post Number: 503
Registered: 10-2005
Posted From: 71.10.63.140
Posted on Sunday, February 12, 2006 - 12:35 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Another idea,

If it wouldnt make business sense with the downtown foot traffic, why not just open it for group reservations, big events, and perhaps a couple-hour time slot daily for passerbys
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Irish_mafia
Member
Username: Irish_mafia

Post Number: 334
Registered: 10-2003
Posted From: 69.221.79.80
Posted on Sunday, February 12, 2006 - 7:24 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

------------------------------ ------------------------------ --------------------
quote:
A shame Detroit skyscraper owners could care less about public interest in their buildings. Even the RenCen observation deck isn't completely public.


------------------------------ ------------------------------ --------------------

"People who own buildings are not running a charity for people who want to see things from high up. nor should be they expected to. We have had several suicides and quite a few attempted suicides from buildings downtown in the past couple of decades. And with winds on a lot of those roofs, it just isn't that safe. Too costly for security and insurance."
------------------------------ --------------------

Forget charity! Where is the building owner with enough marketing savy to get a Cocktail lounge program with the observation deck tied in? Make use of the assets. Why is your building unique?
Can you tie in private parties in the lounge offering leasors first priority? Can you make money and better market the uniqueness of your building through First Friday "Elevation of Art and Soul" HAppy Hours? - You Goin?

There's a million angles to make sense out of this, make money and increase the value of the asset that the landlord holds. If you are going to hold a fabulous structure in your portfolio..be smart enough to take advantage of the opportunity that that affords.
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Jiminnm
Member
Username: Jiminnm

Post Number: 294
Registered: 02-2005
Posted From: 69.241.164.222
Posted on Sunday, February 12, 2006 - 8:42 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Until the early-mid 1970s, The Top of the Flame restaurant and bar occupied the top floor (26th) of One Woodward. It was then converted to office space and, I suspect, is still used as such. There is no easy roof access in that building. I expect the liability insurance for an observation deck would be mighty expensive on any building.

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