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Detroitbill
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Username: Detroitbill

Post Number: 175
Registered: 09-2006
Posted on Monday, March 12, 2007 - 9:03 pm:   Edit PostDelete Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Does anyone know anything about the theater renovation on Monroe across from Compuware, just down the street from the bar Pulse, Seems they were working on it and it has been stopped for several months,,What is going on?? Thanks
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Scs100
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Post Number: 571
Registered: 12-2006
Posted on Monday, March 12, 2007 - 9:12 pm:   Edit PostDelete Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Renovating the exterior as far as I know. The theater is the National Theater, I believe. Perhaps someone else can provide more info.
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Toolbox
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Username: Toolbox

Post Number: 1041
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Tuesday, March 13, 2007 - 12:37 pm:   Edit PostDelete Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Lip stick on a pig is what's going on. Nothing has happened for quite some time.
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Leland_palmer
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Username: Leland_palmer

Post Number: 245
Registered: 08-2004
Posted on Tuesday, March 13, 2007 - 12:39 pm:   Edit PostDelete Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I believe that the National was part of the facade improvement program. I don't think anything is going on beyond that.
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Mdoyle
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Username: Mdoyle

Post Number: 43
Registered: 10-2006
Posted on Tuesday, March 13, 2007 - 12:40 pm:   Edit PostDelete Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

They did a decent job cleaning the exterior. Around SB I heard people saying it was for sure that it'd be renovated into a music venue. Just more SB hype obviously.
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Aiw
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Username: Aiw

Post Number: 6199
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Tuesday, March 13, 2007 - 12:51 pm:   Edit PostDelete Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

As long as it retains the current ownership, as much will happen with it as is happening with the Whittier.

Phoenix-group-atcha!
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Bob
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Username: Bob

Post Number: 1404
Registered: 11-2003
Posted on Tuesday, March 13, 2007 - 2:39 pm:   Edit PostDelete Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I was thinking the same thing as I walked past it on Sunday. I see something going on, but I am pretty sure it is just part of the facade fix-up plan. Would be nice it is was more.
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Gistok
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Username: Gistok

Post Number: 3798
Registered: 08-2004
Posted on Tuesday, March 13, 2007 - 3:17 pm:   Edit PostDelete Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Back in 2000 Preservation Wayne cleaned out the inside of the theatre (to make it more marketable). There must have been about 20 tons of fallen plaster and debris that were removed.
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Detroitstar
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Username: Detroitstar

Post Number: 541
Registered: 01-2006
Posted on Tuesday, March 13, 2007 - 3:26 pm:   Edit PostDelete Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I have not seen anyone working there for at least 8 months. It looks terrible to those who go by there every single day.

I'm telling you, that place would make a killing as a dinner/theatre, comedy club, or other similar destination.
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Charlottepaul
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Username: Charlottepaul

Post Number: 678
Registered: 10-2006
Posted on Tuesday, March 13, 2007 - 7:37 pm:   Edit PostDelete Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

There weren't ever any plans for it. Still vacant as ever, but with the facade improvements. Was down there over this past summer when they were working on it, so it wasn't just a fixer upper for the Super Bowl. Hopefully something good will come of it. Just to see all of the lights sockets filled with bulbs on the front facade would be sweet!
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Detroitstar
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Post Number: 544
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Posted on Wednesday, March 14, 2007 - 3:38 am:   Edit PostDelete Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

...not to mention if there was not a big hole in the front facade.
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Charlottepaul
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Username: Charlottepaul

Post Number: 683
Registered: 10-2006
Posted on Wednesday, March 14, 2007 - 8:40 am:   Edit PostDelete Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

There is a big one in the side too, and basically nothing left on the interior. That little restaurant (forget the name, but it is on the same side of the street to the left of the front), has sort of a collection of photos of the National Theatre.
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Detroitbill
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Username: Detroitbill

Post Number: 176
Registered: 09-2006
Posted on Wednesday, March 14, 2007 - 8:48 am:   Edit PostDelete Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Its seems so strange, you fix it up outside ,then leave part of it open to the elements all winter,and do nothing with it ,,kinda negates anything your doing,,makes you wonder what mind was behind this whole thing
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Rbdetsport
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Username: Rbdetsport

Post Number: 251
Registered: 11-2005
Posted on Wednesday, March 14, 2007 - 6:27 pm:   Edit PostDelete Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I went by there on Sunday and was thinking the same thing about the SB Hype and everything.
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Exmotowner
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Username: Exmotowner

Post Number: 136
Registered: 06-2005
Posted on Wednesday, March 28, 2007 - 8:44 am:   Edit PostDelete Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

does ilich own the national? I know he owns the UA. and is it for sale? I seen on some site where in 2002 it was estimated worth $616,000??? any estimates on how much restoration would be? Just curious, I may hit the lottery some day! LOL
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Llyn
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Username: Llyn

Post Number: 1780
Registered: 06-2004
Posted on Wednesday, March 28, 2007 - 10:25 am:   Edit PostDelete Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Illitch does not own it. Not every unrestored building is his fault, although wthout a public apology I will never forgive him and Kwame for the ML demo.
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Jjaba
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Username: Jjaba

Post Number: 5090
Registered: 11-2003
Posted on Wednesday, March 28, 2007 - 12:03 pm:   Edit PostDelete Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Is the Madison-Lenox still a parking lot?

Apologies for threadjacking.

jjaba, repenting.
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Exmotowner
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Username: Exmotowner

Post Number: 137
Registered: 06-2005
Posted on Thursday, March 29, 2007 - 8:37 am:   Edit PostDelete Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Gosh Llyn, I just asked! I didnt say that Ilich is responsible for every unrestored building. Get your panties out of a twist! If you have read any of my other posts on other threads, I defend the guy. Hes done a damn lot for the city and doesnt have too (although some seem to think he owes the city something) Anyone know who does own the National? Llyn, dont bust your ass to answer, I dont need another snotty reply. Thanks.
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Charlottepaul
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Username: Charlottepaul

Post Number: 724
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Posted on Thursday, March 29, 2007 - 8:46 am:   Edit PostDelete Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Exmotowner, chances are that if someone renovated the building, it would not be renovated for use again as a theatre as it is basically gutted. Therefore, it would be difficult to estimate what a renovation cost would be. It would most likely depend on its final use.
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Exmotowner
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Username: Exmotowner

Post Number: 138
Registered: 06-2005
Posted on Thursday, March 29, 2007 - 6:03 pm:   Edit PostDelete Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

THanks for the info Paul! Well at least the outside hasnt been altered beyond repair and thats a pretty cool structure in itself! Maybe if the Greektown casino draws enough people downtown, they will renovate it to be something like the Fisher (as messed up as I think that even is) for a music venue. Hopefully it will happen soon! Lookin foward to coming home Memorial day!
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Downtown_remix
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Username: Downtown_remix

Post Number: 105
Registered: 03-2007
Posted on Thursday, March 29, 2007 - 7:14 pm:   Edit PostDelete Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

NIght club. SLap some dry way up, cool paint colors, lighting, and amazing sound system.
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Urbanize
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Username: Urbanize

Post Number: 451
Registered: 02-2007
Posted on Thursday, March 29, 2007 - 7:25 pm:   Edit PostDelete Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

How about a five-star restaurant or something like that? I don't like all those night clubs being in Downtown Detroit unless they were made for the Mature, adult Crowd, then it's ok.
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Rhymeswithrawk
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Username: Rhymeswithrawk

Post Number: 587
Registered: 11-2005
Posted on Thursday, March 29, 2007 - 7:31 pm:   Edit PostDelete Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

That will never happen there simply isn't enough parking in that area. Wait. Never mind. :-)
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Exmotowner
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Username: Exmotowner

Post Number: 143
Registered: 06-2005
Posted on Friday, March 30, 2007 - 8:34 am:   Edit PostDelete Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

What about a venue like our Ryman Auditorium where people could come and hear the "motown sound"? It just amazes me that the owner of the national (and I guess nobody knows who that is??????) is just letting that sit there and rot! I just cant believe that!!! WTF? Why cant he get together with some of the Big stars (Aretha, Stevie, Temps, Tops etc.) and get something like that going? If it was my property, I'd be in there myself doing work if nothing else. Its just unfathomable to me to let it sit there and rot. Who owns the damn thing? I'll call him and ask him WTF!??? LOL Theres got to be a way and I would find it if I was him!!! There will be parking when they get the casino in and up and going!
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Toolbox
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Username: Toolbox

Post Number: 1047
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Friday, March 30, 2007 - 8:57 am:   Edit PostDelete Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

quote:

Exmotowner

It just amazes me that the owner of the national (and I guess nobody knows who that is??????) is just letting that sit there and rot!



Mel Washington/Pheonix Group is the owner. Go look at The Whittier "renovations" to see how long the National will take, if ever.


You people do realize that there is a forum search function, right?
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Jt1
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Username: Jt1

Post Number: 8752
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Friday, March 30, 2007 - 9:12 am:   Edit PostDelete Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Regardless of what is done with this building it is still stuck next to a horrific looking parking deck. I am happy that the deck has ground floor retail but it is just awful looking.

Does anyone know which building/business uses that deck?
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Neilr
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Username: Neilr

Post Number: 480
Registered: 06-2005
Posted on Friday, March 30, 2007 - 10:21 am:   Edit PostDelete Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Jt1, the deck is used for parking for the Greektown Casino. I agree with you that it is just awful looking.

Have you stopped into Happy Cream for an ice cream cone? I believe that they are the nicest small business owners in town. If you appear to be uncertain as to which flavor to buy, you are sure to be offered samples!
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Jt1
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Username: Jt1

Post Number: 8766
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Friday, March 30, 2007 - 10:23 am:   Edit PostDelete Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

quote:

Have you stopped into Happy Cream for an ice cream cone? I believe that they are the nicest small business owners in town



They also have soups, sandwiches, bags of chips and faygo. I agree. I hope to see them in a large, new beatiful store in a couple of years. Whenever I go in I feel like I'm not buying enough because they are so damn nice. Almost to the point of it being painful.
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Jt1
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Username: Jt1

Post Number: 8767
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Friday, March 30, 2007 - 10:25 am:   Edit PostDelete Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

A little plug for them (I have no affiliation or relationship with them)

http://www.happycreamicecream. net/
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Exmotowner
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Username: Exmotowner

Post Number: 147
Registered: 06-2005
Posted on Friday, March 30, 2007 - 1:14 pm:   Edit PostDelete Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Thanks for the info toolbox. Yea I do know about the search engine, just forget its there. Sorry. When Im on this site, Im usually at work and not a lot of time to do searches! Thanks so much for the info! I might just come up and act like an interested outside (buyer) and inquire. Hmmm its a thought! Thanks again!
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Spitty
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Username: Spitty

Post Number: 550
Registered: 07-2004
Posted on Friday, March 30, 2007 - 1:45 pm:   Edit PostDelete Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I'd be willing to bet my paycheck that some of "those North Oakland County hipsters" are forumers.

On a side note, I'm just glad to be able to lose track of some of these developments and their completion dates. I remember driving around with out of towners and my response to every "What's that building?" question was "Those are supposed to be turned into condos, but I'm not sure when". Now it's more like, "Whoa, I didn't know there were people already living there".

Recent examples include: Research Lofts, Lofts at New Amsterdam, Chap Lofts, Grinnell Lofts, Leland Lofts, 55 West Canfield, and The Ellington.
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Exmotowner
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Username: Exmotowner

Post Number: 148
Registered: 06-2005
Posted on Monday, April 02, 2007 - 2:54 pm:   Edit PostDelete Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Sorry about this, but I did a search and did not find what I was looking for. Anyone have any pics of the National when it was intact and in its beautiful prime? I didnt find any. Thanks would love to see it.
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Andyguard73
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Username: Andyguard73

Post Number: 219
Registered: 03-2006
Posted on Monday, April 02, 2007 - 3:13 pm:   Edit PostDelete Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Exmotowner, there are some pictures of the Exterior of the National shortly after opening here at forgottendetroit, along with its history and recent photos.

http://www.forgottendetroit.co m/national/history.html
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Fastcarsfreedom
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Username: Fastcarsfreedom

Post Number: 170
Registered: 11-2005
Posted on Monday, April 02, 2007 - 3:17 pm:   Edit PostDelete Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

That incredibly intricate Albert Kahn facade with it's detailing and recessed lighting as a masterpiece--imagine seeing that aglow again, no matter the use of the interior. If nothing else it's worthy of a facade restoration--even if the auditorium is beyond repair.
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Exmotowner
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Username: Exmotowner

Post Number: 149
Registered: 06-2005
Posted on Tuesday, April 03, 2007 - 1:29 pm:   Edit PostDelete Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I cant find any interior pics other than whats on Forgotten Detroit. (the rubble). I've been trying to do some digging and find out what the assessment value of the property at its last appraisal, but so far no luck. Im also looking into if the National has any historic designation or not? Any info anybody has would be greatly appreciated. Thanks
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Gistok
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Username: Gistok

Post Number: 4036
Registered: 08-2004
Posted on Tuesday, April 03, 2007 - 1:43 pm:   Edit PostDelete Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

The National Theatre auditorium (main floor/balcony) is not beyond repair. But the plaster shell will need to be almost totally replaced/restored, or a new interior designed for it.
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Exmotowner
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Username: Exmotowner

Post Number: 151
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Posted on Tuesday, April 03, 2007 - 2:23 pm:   Edit PostDelete Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Hey Gistok, You seem the most informed on the subject of the national. I guess I've become obscessed but it just would kill me to see it fall by the wayside. Im trying as hard as I can to find out what the heck is going on with it TODAY! Isn't preservation Wayne putting pressure on the owner. Is nothing EVER heard from Mel Washington or the Pheonix Group? I would think He and Ilich would be BOMBARDED with complaints on these two NATIONAL TREASURES! Couldnt even United Artists studios be helping save Mary Pickford's theater? Sorry, Im sure this dead horse has been beaten enough, I just dont get it why anyone would let their investments like this rot! Hell If I owned them and its been setting in rot since 1970, I would tear it down and sell the land. I JUST DONT GET IT!
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Gistok
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Post Number: 4038
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Posted on Tuesday, April 03, 2007 - 2:53 pm:   Edit PostDelete Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Exmotowner, I feel your pain... I really do!

I don't know what the deal is with the National... I would think that at the very least if Peter Karmanos is looking out of his upper floor Compuware office and sees that, he'd be calling KK and saying... WTF??? If there are gaping holes in the side of the building, then I can't imagine why facade improvement money has been spent on that building while it's still open to the elements. Plus, it's so close to Campus Martius. It makes no sense to me.

Now for the United Artists. With the National Trust featuring that building on their cover of last years National Trust Magazine (along with the grafitti covered windows, since cleaned)... all I can say is that Mike Ilitch has been called out NATIONALLY for his inept handling of his old building inventory. He trully is a slumlord, but also a major Detroit investor.

As for the United Artists picture chain worrying about one of their last Movie Palaces... they won't lose any sleep over it. It seems that movie theatre/film chains don't care about their old palaces, since they are no longer under their ownership.

You ask a lot of good questions, I only wish I had the answer to many of them.
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Exmotowner
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Post Number: 153
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Posted on Tuesday, April 03, 2007 - 3:04 pm:   Edit PostDelete Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Thanks Gistok. Pain is a good way to describe the way I feel. I was in the "Grand Circus Theater" 2 weeks before it closed. When I seen that red fence up around it I went Balistic!! (I was living there then). I called for 2 weeks trying to talk to the owner and he finally returned my call and reassured me they were working to restore it and it would not be destroyed. I will definitely be seeing it in all its beauty when I come home memorial day. (its 10 years since I've been back). Dont these people understand that once these are gone we cant bring them back i.e. MICHIGAN THEATER!! They cannot build them like that today! Although they just build one in Nashville (Schimmerhorn symphony Center) and it is awsome, but not in the same class as the old palaces. (Nashville destroyed all the show palaces they had many years ago) they had a paramount.
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Gistok
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Post Number: 4041
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Posted on Tuesday, April 03, 2007 - 3:21 pm:   Edit PostDelete Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Exmotowner, many cities across America destroyed most, if not all their old downtown movie palaces. Philadelphia, Baltimore, Cincinnati, Houston and Phoenix destroyed all their downtown palaces, back in the pre-preservation 50,s 60's, and 70's.

And as you say... once they're gone, they're gone! :-(
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Eastsidedame
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Post Number: 41
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Posted on Tuesday, April 03, 2007 - 6:17 pm:   Edit PostDelete Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

>" Philadelphia, Baltimore, Cincinnati, Houston and Phoenix destroyed all their downtown palaces...<

Philadelphia has the Trocadero Theatre (1883) and the Holiday Arts, formerly the Ace (1922) both still in operation. Some theaters are still standing, but closed, like the Royal Theater (1920) on South Street. Still others have been converted to mixed use facilities, like the Riveria built in 1914 (formerly the Empress)on Main Street which is now Loring Building Products.

Baltimore is struggling to save the Senator Theater (1939); it has been featured in movies like "Avalon", "12 Monkeys" and "Cecil B. Demented". The Patterson (1930) has been restored and re-opened. Many other theaters in Baltimore still exist, but like Detroit, have lacked the funds in the past to tear them down, much less restore them.

Still, their numbers pale in comparison to what now exists in Detroit (though I don't know about Cincinnati). Consider them a an inherent, untapped resource? Why on earth not?

Hopefully, Detroiters have the foresight lacking in the past to insure that these theaters stay as intact as possible for future renovation. A tour of vintage, restored movie palaces could end up being big business for us and a public relations coup as well.
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Exmotowner
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Post Number: 156
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Posted on Tuesday, April 03, 2007 - 6:39 pm:   Edit PostDelete Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

yea Gistok, It is sad. Even where my grandma lived (and I lived there too some when I was younger) Harrisburg, Illinois, they had a beautiful little orpheum and they just ripped it down without anyone even bitching. There are many many small towns that have small beautiful little theaters and they are in about the same shape as the Adams, National or UA. Sparta TN has a beautiful little art deco theater and the last time I was nosing around there it had lost most of its roof. Crosseville and Jamestown TN have similar ones each beautiful in their own right but will probably never be saved.

Heres what they are building now a days.

http://www.nashvillesymphony.o rg/main.taf?p=17,7

Nice in its own right but Im sure the Parmount here in nashville "was" more ornate. The schemerhorn is as high tech accoustically as it gets. I havent been yet (and wont be going if symphony is involved) LOL They are going to have other things there so Im sure I'll be going.
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Gistok
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Post Number: 4056
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Posted on Tuesday, April 03, 2007 - 10:44 pm:   Edit PostDelete Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

True, Exmotowner, many of the cities I mentioned still have many theatres... but their most fancy theatres are the downtown palaces built during the 20's... gone. (I wasn't including legitimate theatres or symphonic/opera venues.)
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Toybreaker
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Username: Toybreaker

Post Number: 49
Registered: 01-2005
Posted on Wednesday, April 04, 2007 - 1:31 am:   Edit PostDelete Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Take a peek inside, Sept. 10, 2005.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/t oybreaker/sets/922984/
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56packman
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Post Number: 1189
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Posted on Wednesday, April 04, 2007 - 7:54 am:   Edit PostDelete Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Gistok wrote: "As for the United Artists picture chain worrying about one of their last Movie Palaces... they won't lose any sleep over it. It seems that movie theatre/film chains don't care about their old palaces, since they are no longer under their ownership"
I'm sure he knows this, but for the edification of others the federal government broke up the business of the movie studios owning the movie theatres in a 1949 anti-trust legislation. Prior to this law the studios owned (partially) and operated the theatres, or franchised their product and identity to local chains. The biggest local example was the Kunsky chain here in Detroit; a franchisee of the Paramount-Publix corp. Kunsky built or operated many of the downtown theatres from their flagship, the Michigan on Bagley. The Fox was built and operated by William Fox for his Fox studios, the RKO downtown (Oriental--w.Adams & Park) and RKO uptown (AKA "six mile Uptown, Woodard and McNichols) were part of RKO. In other cities Loews operated many theatres as the parent and "bank" for MGM. The break up of this system occurred just as television was beginning, 1949--although few sets were in homes then. If you read through Andrew Craig Morrison's compendium of Detroit theatres, "nickel show, opera house and palaces" the end date for many of the smaller neighborhood theatres is 1949. There are dozens of listings that have a start date in the 20's and an end date in 1949.
How come no one was gnashing and wailing when Barden owned the UA, or David Grossman, under whose ownership the building took its most dramatic downward turn? He also almost succeeded in wrecking the Capitol/Grand Circus, now Opera house. Thank God for Dr.Dichiera and the MOT--the Capitol/Circus/Opera house is one of the best auditoriums in Detroit and MOT dug in and saved and restored that building

(Message edited by 56packman on April 04, 2007)
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Exmotowner
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Post Number: 157
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Posted on Wednesday, April 04, 2007 - 8:23 am:   Edit PostDelete Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Some interesting history and info Pacman Thanks. See ya learn something new every day! I say we all just go kick the owners asses and make them restore them. It does look like the national is all but gone as far as the decorative features go. Still would make an awsome venue for a "Motown review" for the folks coming down for the casino!
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Rsa
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Post Number: 1083
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Posted on Wednesday, April 04, 2007 - 10:22 am:   Edit PostDelete Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

packman, not sure where you're getting your info from, but grossman was restoring the ua and bringing the building back up in occupancy when he owned it. the currency exchange club was opened by him and all profits from there were put into the restoration of the ua. that's why (it's hard to tell now, but if you look at pic's from the late nineties) you can see all of the decorative plaster work had been rebuilt. it was under ilitch that all of this was carted out by vandals and scrappers. it was when the brick started falling off the facade of the currency exchange building when he ran out of money and was forced to close the club and sell the building.

don barden only owned the building for about 6 months; when he was denied a casino license. he sold it to the city, whom in turn sold it to the ilitches for $1. and, we can all see now, they did absolutely nothing to secure or mothball what was starting to be rebuilt.
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Exmotowner
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Post Number: 161
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Posted on Wednesday, April 04, 2007 - 4:35 pm:   Edit PostDelete Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

QUESTION: What does Ilich and Mel Washington say about those theaters? Have either ever came out with a public anouncement? Have letters ever been written to them from this forum (signed by all forumers)? or are they just COLD HEARTED MULTIMILLIONARES that could care less what the world thinks of the way the handle their trust of our (AMERICAN) treasures? Just wondering if anything is EVER heard from them?
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The_recycling_people
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Username: The_recycling_people

Post Number: 29
Registered: 11-2006
Posted on Wednesday, April 04, 2007 - 5:31 pm:   Edit PostDelete Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Whatever dirt that mel washington has on somebody must be keeping them alive, 'cause that is the most poorly run organization I have ever seen. The phoenix group/ mel washington has acquired some of the most valuable jewels in detroit... the national theatre - wilbur wright high school (old fine arts high in woodbridge) - the whittier - the old trailer park @ alter/ jefferson....

Millionaires?? That group is as broke as the NSO. They have extreme trouble paying their bills, have absolutely NO plan or foresight, and have WAY too much on their plate...

If the Book Cadillac took twenty seven layers of financing to get moving, what would the whittier take? combine that with the national, fine arts high, and you all can see that we will be waiting forever to see any positive movement on these projects under their current ownership.
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Gistok
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Post Number: 4072
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Posted on Wednesday, April 04, 2007 - 5:39 pm:   Edit PostDelete Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

56packman, I have to agree with Rsa about David Grossman... only because I met him, and he gave me a tour of the United Artists in the mid 1990's. He did take care of it, unfortunately he didn't have deep pockets.
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56packman
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Post Number: 1193
Registered: 12-2005
Posted on Wednesday, April 04, 2007 - 6:07 pm:   Edit PostDelete Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Gistok, RSA, I was in the UA (again) in 1990-91 and the building was in sad disrepair then. The daytime sky was visible along the back of the auditorium ceiling, meaning the roof was gone in that section and took the decorative plaster ceiling out. The basement was full of water, probably 16' feet or so worth, which means the heating/cooling plant was totally cooked. Yea, all of the plaster "people" were all still there, although there was water damage all along the side walls of the auditorium. The place was trashed then, and a difficult/highly improbable candidate for restoration. IIRC, this was well before the Money exchange opened. Any plaster restoration David would have done would be superfluous, if you don't have a roof over your head, a dry basement and a heating plant you aren't going to get anywhere fixing decorative plaster. He talked a good ball game about the theatre, and may have had wonderful intentions, but it all stopped there.
Yes, a lot of theft has occurred on Ilitch's watch. He probably is speculating with the building rather than having any intentions to restore it. Were there a big demand for a theatre that size someone would have beat him to it and paid more than $1, restored it then used it. It was pretty far gone in 90-91, no one did anything to stabilize the building, its been thieved of anything worth keeping.
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Lowell
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Username: Lowell

Post Number: 3768
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Wednesday, April 04, 2007 - 9:35 pm:   Edit PostDelete Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

National Theater Nov. 2000

National Theater Detroit


National Theater March 2007

National Theater Detroit
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Southen
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Username: Southen

Post Number: 118
Registered: 08-2006
Posted on Wednesday, April 04, 2007 - 10:03 pm:   Edit PostDelete Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Ive probably posted this before but since the UA is being discussed again ill post again.

These are interior shots taken late last year:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/s outhen/sets/72157594448748685/
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Scottr
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Username: Scottr

Post Number: 466
Registered: 07-2006
Posted on Wednesday, April 04, 2007 - 10:37 pm:   Edit PostDelete Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

quote:

There are dozens of listings that have a start date in the 20's and an end date in 1949.



I had just been looking through listings of detroit theaters, and noticed that 1949 was showing up an awful lot. I was going to ask if I saw it continue throughout my little project, but you answered it! thanks!

this makes me wonder, which had more effect on the downfall of the movie palace - the anti-trust legislation or multiplexes? i had always believed it was the latter, but now i'm wondering if they were merely the nail in the coffin, with the 1949 breakup - and the elimination of studio money backing up the theaters - doing the most damage.
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Gistok
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Username: Gistok

Post Number: 4076
Registered: 08-2004
Posted on Wednesday, April 04, 2007 - 10:38 pm:   Edit PostDelete Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Thanks Southen, those pictures are so hauntingly beautiful... like some thousand year old ruined temple from The Lord Of The Rings trilogy, but as the real thing, not computer animation.

The sad thing is that besides Detroit Architect C. Howard Cranes twin Fox masterpieces, his 3 "Spanish Gothic Deco" United Artists theatres were his best work. Theatre historian David Naylor said "among movie palace architects, C. Howard Cranes mastery of the Gothic style was without precedent".

With the Chicago UA (smallest of the 3) pounded to rubble in 1990, it only leaves the Detroit and Los Angeles UA Theatres... at some point only the Los Angeles (a Jehovah's Witness Kingdom Hall) will survive.

A tragedy.
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56packman
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Username: 56packman

Post Number: 1194
Registered: 12-2005
Posted on Wednesday, April 04, 2007 - 11:09 pm:   Edit PostDelete Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Scottr-several things came into play in the loss
of the movie houses/palaces.
Some were victims of the land they sat on--it became more valuable than any theatre operation could support. The Roxy and Paramount in NY were profitable at the time of their demise, but the land under them became so highly valuable that the theatres had to go, so that office space could be created. Theatres were easy targets for new construction because they were a large footprint of land upon which a sizeable office tower could be built, and the developer only had to purchase one property--the theatre. Otherwise they had to buy out little stores and businesses to assemble the large parcel they needed. The first couple of purchases go ok, then the last few know you absolutely need that land and hold out for huge money.

Television--once the box came into homes people did not go out to the movies as much. This spawned the whole Cinemascope (or other wide screen processes)3-D, Technicolor everything, 70MM six-channel stereophonic sound--everything that television couldn't be in the early 50's.. Those innovations helped, but after TV the US was over-stocked for movie theatres.

The move to the suburbs and the advent of the multi screen plexes didn't help, but it should be noted that back then (50's-70's) the neighborhoods that Joe & Joan Suburban dweller moved from did not empty out, other people moved up into those homes, and lived near the older single screen neighborhood theatre Joe and Joan used to go to, it's just that the economics changed per the above. We in Detroit are extremely fortunate to have as many intact theatres as we have, and as many operating as we have. I wish the Michigan hadn't been gutted for parking, that was a painful loss, made more painful by the fact that part of the corpse was left to rot, for all to see. At the time that carnage happened no one cared, not a word of preservation was spoken. If one was to be saved it was the Fox, the largest, most lavish, untouched intact example of the form.


what was


what was
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Scottr
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Username: Scottr

Post Number: 468
Registered: 07-2006
Posted on Wednesday, April 04, 2007 - 11:17 pm:   Edit PostDelete Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Southen - those are amazing pics, particularly the one you call 'final curtain'. I've admired them often over the past few months. thanks for sharing them.

I keep hoping that quicken loans/rock financial will move into the ua building (probably with more office space and parking built on the tuller and/or statler sites), and restore the theater. it may be a long shot, but probably the best chance - if not the only chance - it has of being restored. although it would cost a lot of money, with company events already being held at the fox and opera house, i wouldn't rule it out entirely.
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Scottr
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Username: Scottr

Post Number: 469
Registered: 07-2006
Posted on Wednesday, April 04, 2007 - 11:37 pm:   Edit PostDelete Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Thanks for the insights, Packman. I agree, if only one could be saved, the Fox is certainly it, and we are definitely fortunate to have as many operating as we do - for that matter, as many still standing, open or closed, as we do. I still hope for more restoration, of course. :-)

Although I've seen comments about the Michigan (mostly elsewhere) saying it should have just been gutted entirely, I am incredibly glad it was not. it may be depressing, but to me it is an incredibly powerful statement against the desecration that has occurred, even more so than pictures of palaces that are long gone - and i'm saying this only moments after admiring pictures of the San Francisco Fox. It's far easier to forget when it's gone.

Thanks for the pic too, i've seen very few of the UA in any better condition than what i would call 'pitiful'
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Gistok
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Username: Gistok

Post Number: 4077
Registered: 08-2004
Posted on Wednesday, April 04, 2007 - 11:51 pm:   Edit PostDelete Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Ironically many people on this forum would prefer to see the office building saved and the theatre gone. But the office building was bastardized in the mid 20th century, so that today the 4 sides of the UA Building don't even match.

And the beautiful C. Howard Crane exterior details such as the Corinthian columns, and Romanesque arches above the 3rd storey were gone by the time most Forumers were even born.

As long as the interior framework is still sound (steel framework, mezzanine & balcony framework), the thing in worst shape in the interior of the UA is the plaster shell. And thanks to the Manning Brothers Historic Photo Collection (owned by Chuck Forbes), every bit of the interior plaster work could be recreated.

Problem is, as 56packman stated, there has to be a business case for restoring the theatre. And with all the other venues downtown, that "raison d'ętre" does not currently exist.

I have always wished that it could be the Motown Center For The Performing Arts, because this theatre is so exotically "un-European" in many characteristics.

And also because I get annoyed whenever they have a 5 year Motown anniversary show... from Los Angeles. I always thought that it would be appropriate from anniversary celebrations to be here... to "bring Motown back to Motown".

But then you need some business case for the other 4.9 years of operations.
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Psip
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Username: Psip

Post Number: 1738
Registered: 04-2005
Posted on Thursday, April 05, 2007 - 12:28 am:   Edit PostDelete Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Found a very interesting utube about theaters in Brittan.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v =DnLsvLPGZzA
Enjoy
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Eastsidedame
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Username: Eastsidedame

Post Number: 50
Registered: 12-2006
Posted on Thursday, April 05, 2007 - 12:47 am:   Edit PostDelete Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Great photos, people! Thanks so much.

Gistok, is that Manning Brothers Historic Photo Collection on line? Boy, I would love to see some of those!

And how about an old-fashioned burlesk show with racy comedians and creative strippers every first Saturday in the month, just for old times sake? That just might generate some big bucks!
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Scottr
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Username: Scottr

Post Number: 471
Registered: 07-2006
Posted on Thursday, April 05, 2007 - 12:57 am:   Edit PostDelete Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

A business case is optional if you have a generous millionaire. :-)

i remember someone on the forum once suggest 'restoring' the UA as a ruin. at first i scoffed at the idea, but as time has passed, i've found it intriguing. Repair just enough to keep it from falling apart onto patrons heads and to keep the elements out, and obviously seating and lighting and other necessities. it could cut a lot of the cost off the project and create a truly unique performance space.

Again, i don't know if there would be enough events to justify even that. but, as downtown continues to flourish, that could change.
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Scottr
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Username: Scottr

Post Number: 472
Registered: 07-2006
Posted on Thursday, April 05, 2007 - 1:17 am:   Edit PostDelete Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Psip, thanks for that video - indirectly, you just helped me find EXACTLY what I needed. Looking to see where Aberdeen was in relation to where my mom grew up, i discovered google maps has a new feature to save maps with points you choose, and space to insert details. I probably would have found this quickly anyways, but thanks anyways. :-)

my eventual goal is to have a map with all detroit theatres plotted out, kinda like cinema treasures or waterwinterwonderland, but in map form. probably a useless idea for most, but gives me a chance to learn more about them. if i ever finish it, i may try extending it out to the rest of michigan.
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Psip
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Username: Psip

Post Number: 1740
Registered: 04-2005
Posted on Thursday, April 05, 2007 - 1:21 am:   Edit PostDelete Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Scottr I think we have one already.
email me PSIPdetroit at Gmail com
I am not sure where it is right now but will look tomorrow. I think its in PDF form.
Did you check the Old Movie Theaters in the HOF?
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Scottr
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Username: Scottr

Post Number: 473
Registered: 07-2006
Posted on Thursday, April 05, 2007 - 1:33 am:   Edit PostDelete Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Thanks psip, just sent one. i had forgotten about the old moviehouses thread - can't imagine why, that's what got me interested in this site! thanks for reminding me!
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Gistok
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Username: Gistok

Post Number: 4081
Registered: 08-2004
Posted on Thursday, April 05, 2007 - 1:57 am:   Edit PostDelete Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Ya know, there is a theatre somewhere that is a ruin. But for the life of me I can't remember where. The one thing I do remember about it though is instead of individual type seating, it had long benches, reminiscent of gymnasiums.

But it had a Pompeii ruin type look to the interior.

The most important thing for stopping the decomposition of a theatre is putting a new roof on it to stop the rain from further ruining the plasterwork and steel framework.

20 years ago the city did put a new roof on the National Theatre, but that was long after the extensive deterioration of the plasterwork had taken its' toll.

Even the former Michigan Theatre has a new roof on the former theatre space. When I went to visit Michigan Building owner Anthony Pieroni (a very colorful and informative building owner and businessman), he mentioned that he had put a new roof over the former Michigan Theatre parking garage. It prevents not only plaster from falling onto vehicles below, but also protects the steel framework of the building as well as the steel rods holding the remaining plasterwork in place.

Mr. Pieroni also spent quite a bit of money to rewire the "false window" in front of the former theatre space. That window has a "half chandelier" in front of a mirror. He spent thousands on lighting it up like it used to be back in the heyday of the theatre... but nobody noticed!!
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Psip
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Username: Psip

Post Number: 1741
Registered: 04-2005
Posted on Thursday, April 05, 2007 - 2:07 am:   Edit PostDelete Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Found the page with the maps and an excel spreadsheet. Very well done.

http://movie-theatre.org/usa/m i/detroit/detroit.html

This is a must have!
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Gistok
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Username: Gistok

Post Number: 4082
Registered: 08-2004
Posted on Thursday, April 05, 2007 - 2:15 am:   Edit PostDelete Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

LOL... hey Psip... go click on the Opera House link, and see where it takes you.... :-)
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Psip
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Username: Psip

Post Number: 1742
Registered: 04-2005
Posted on Thursday, April 05, 2007 - 2:20 am:   Edit PostDelete Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Geez! sorry about that! Should have been titled Windsor Ballet. :-)
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Scottr
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Username: Scottr

Post Number: 474
Registered: 07-2006
Posted on Thursday, April 05, 2007 - 5:38 am:   Edit PostDelete Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

thanks for the link, psip, the spreadsheet is especially helpful.

here's an idea of what i'm attempting. Still a long way to go, and I want to add a lot more than just the basic info i've started with (architect is high up on the list, maybe before i go much further).

Hopefully google will add more features such as alphabetization, or even better, make it the list able to be reorganized.
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Tkelly1986
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Username: Tkelly1986

Post Number: 262
Registered: 01-2004
Posted on Thursday, April 05, 2007 - 6:13 am:   Edit PostDelete Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

There was mention that Don Barden owned the UA at one point for about 6 months then sold it when he did not get a Casino license. My question is what were Barden’s plans for it? Did he want to put his casino on that site? Would he tear it down or combine the Tuller site and build the casino portion on there with the UA serving as the office/theater part? I have always though that Stateler/UA/Tuller section of GCP was the idea place for a casino and it would have been great to see….it would be interesting if that was Barden’s idea as well.
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Tkelly1986
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Username: Tkelly1986

Post Number: 263
Registered: 01-2004
Posted on Thursday, April 05, 2007 - 6:13 am:   Edit PostDelete Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

There was mention that Don Barden owned the UA at one point for about 6 months then sold it when he did not get a Casino license. My question is what were Barden’s plans for it? Did he want to put his casino on that site? Would he tear it down or combine the Tuller site and build the casino portion on there with the UA serving as the office/theater part? I have always though that Statler/UA/Tuller section of GCP was the idea place for a casino and it would have been great to see….it would be interesting if that was Barden’s idea as well.
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56packman
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Username: 56packman

Post Number: 1196
Registered: 12-2005
Posted on Thursday, April 05, 2007 - 6:46 am:   Edit PostDelete Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Scottr--please put the Redford theatre, 17360 Lahser, Detroit, 48219 on your map/list. It is the only neighborhood movie house in Detroit that is still open, and has been wonderfully restored.
www.redfordtheatre.com
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Tkelly1986
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Username: Tkelly1986

Post Number: 264
Registered: 01-2004
Posted on Thursday, April 05, 2007 - 10:12 am:   Edit PostDelete Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

bump
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Scottr
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Username: Scottr

Post Number: 475
Registered: 07-2006
Posted on Thursday, April 05, 2007 - 12:24 pm:   Edit PostDelete Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

56packman - doh! I was trying to get all the open ones on there, I can't believe I missed it! That's what I get for working on it at 5 in the morning with no sleep.

So now I've fully updated it, with far more info than I have with any others (yet), and I will probably use it as a template for future additions. Thanks for the reminder!
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Downtownguy
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Username: Downtownguy

Post Number: 6
Registered: 07-2004
Posted on Thursday, April 05, 2007 - 2:32 pm:   Edit PostDelete Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Great job, Scottr. A couple of minor corrections. On your 1980 and 1990 maps, you've got the Fox, et al, located around I-94, when in fact they should be further south around I-75. Also, on the 1990 map, you've got the Plaza as part of this group, when in fact it was in operation from 1988-1991 as the TeleArts in the former Telenews building.
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Msamericana
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Username: Msamericana

Post Number: 60
Registered: 05-2004
Posted on Thursday, April 05, 2007 - 3:13 pm:   Edit PostDelete Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Save the National for me. I can guarantee you that if I won the lotto, she would be mine and used for something, if not just cleaned up to look at, as few people love old theaters more than me. =)

In the meantime, I beg the owners to PLEASE light every one of those damn light bulbs up at night and let her shine in the darkness! National is a gem, looking pretty in her clean, snow white facade, but that horrid wood wall that surrounds her must be removed. =P At least MAKE her look functional and beautiful!
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Michmeister
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Username: Michmeister

Post Number: 158
Registered: 10-2006
Posted on Thursday, April 05, 2007 - 4:29 pm:   Edit PostDelete Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I just looked at the flickr set from toybreaker, when "The Show Must Go On" from Queen started playing, as if it were made for the slide show. Very touching, disturbing. When these beauties are gone, they are never coming back.
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Scottr
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Username: Scottr

Post Number: 476
Registered: 07-2006
Posted on Thursday, April 05, 2007 - 4:54 pm:   Edit PostDelete Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Downtownguy - the maps separated by date aren't mine, although I am using the spreadsheet from the same source as a reference, and the map in extreme cases, so i'll keep your comments in mind. mine still has a long way to go, but can be found at:
http://tinyurl.com/237h4j
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Dbest
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Username: Dbest

Post Number: 3
Registered: 03-2007
Posted on Thursday, April 05, 2007 - 5:30 pm:   Edit PostDelete Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Great thread! You people rule, anyways I was visiting from out of town yesterday and eating at JJ's and couldn't keep my eyes off it from the window, I was thinking how magical it once looked!

(Message edited by dbest on April 05, 2007)
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Exmotowner
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Username: Exmotowner

Post Number: 167
Registered: 06-2005
Posted on Friday, April 06, 2007 - 12:49 pm:   Edit PostDelete Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I emailed Preservation Wayne and asked what was going on with the national. Here is their reply:

As far as I know, the City of Detroit, Economic Growth Corporation is working with Melvin Washington of Phoenix Group Consultants, 4150 Grand River Avenue 313.831.4637 to try to redevelop the building.

Doesnt sound like anything new. Anyone know of the Econimic Growth Corporation or anyone hear anything different?
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Capnpeebo
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Username: Capnpeebo

Post Number: 1
Registered: 05-2007
Posted on Saturday, May 19, 2007 - 8:35 pm:   Edit PostDelete Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I've spent far too long researching this building - Ownership, future plans, etc. I'm pretty informed on many aspects of this beaut except for the final piece - what Phoenix is doing with it. They won't return my calls. Pre Super Bowl, they were willing to rent out the space - they won't tell me the status now. I have a planned use for the building and lot next to it, but without a track record behind me, I guess I'll have to work harder. Looking for connections to commercial development to make this happen.
I've also got a few choice photos of the building's interior on opening day. Contact me if interested.
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Gistok
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Username: Gistok

Post Number: 4349
Registered: 08-2004
Posted on Sunday, May 20, 2007 - 11:19 pm:   Edit PostDelete Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Bump,

Welcome to the forum Capnpeebo!

Looks like a lot of forumers are comatose on this subject.

Some commercial developers are on this forum, but it's not exactly the location to find investors.

Since I was part of the cleanup of the National (Preservation Wayne cleanup of 2000), I am quite interested to see what it looks like on the inside. We removed about 20 tons of fallen plaster that year, and I've always wondered what the inside of Albert Kahn's only theatre design (the Bonstelle doesn't count) actually looked like when it was built.
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Capnpeebo
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Username: Capnpeebo

Post Number: 2
Registered: 05-2007
Posted on Monday, May 21, 2007 - 9:47 am:   Edit PostDelete Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I'm not chatting here with the hope/expectation of finding money -just a decided interest level to actually persue a vision rather than *sigh* reminisce about the good ol' days. As often as I do that, it's time to get something out of my nostalgia.

Is there a way to directly send an email to a specific poster w/out broadcasting an address on the forum? I'd gladly send the pics I have.
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Rfban
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Username: Rfban

Post Number: 81
Registered: 02-2004
Posted on Monday, May 21, 2007 - 9:53 am:   Edit PostDelete Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I would really enjoy some pictures of the National. My email is Rfban1@gmail.com

Greatly appreciated
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El_jimbo
Member
Username: El_jimbo

Post Number: 163
Registered: 12-2006
Posted on Monday, May 21, 2007 - 10:04 am:   Edit PostDelete Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

capnpeebo,

what is your vision for the National?
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Capnpeebo
Member
Username: Capnpeebo

Post Number: 3
Registered: 05-2007
Posted on Monday, May 21, 2007 - 12:52 pm:   Edit PostDelete Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Here's a smattering of National photos back in its heyday. This'll be easier than mass individual emails.


National 1
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Capnpeebo
Member
Username: Capnpeebo

Post Number: 4
Registered: 05-2007
Posted on Monday, May 21, 2007 - 12:53 pm:   Edit PostDelete Post   Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

And some more....

national 2

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