Discuss Detroit Archives - Beginning January 2007 AAA building update Previous Next
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Huggybear
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Username: Huggybear

Post Number: 278
Registered: 08-2005
Posted on Wednesday, January 17, 2007 - 8:17 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Having passed by it twice in one week, I am reminded that it is now more than a year since the Statler Hilton was torn town and the AAA building burned. I looked here on the archive and didn't find anything recent.

So what is the status of AAA? I noticed from the street that the uppermost floor is completely burned out and roof-less, with very obvious collapse of the parapet and parts of the walls. With structural damage and exposure to the elements for more than a year, is restoration an issue anymore?

I vaguely remember someone related to the ownership (Mr. Pieroni) coming on here and discussing dispute between the owners and their insurance company or the owners and the city, but that was about a year ago. Has a lawsuit against an insurer or the city started? If not, why?

?
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Huggybear
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Username: Huggybear

Post Number: 280
Registered: 08-2005
Posted on Friday, January 26, 2007 - 9:13 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Anything?
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Detourdetroit
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Username: Detourdetroit

Post Number: 255
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Friday, January 26, 2007 - 9:18 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I think the hearing got rescheduled? Promises of a prompt redevelopment plan have flitted into that great big Detroit promise in the sky...
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Gistok
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Username: Gistok

Post Number: 3507
Registered: 08-2004
Posted on Sunday, January 28, 2007 - 12:54 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Yes, it was Anthony Pieroni himself (owner of the Michigan Building/former theatre, as well as owner of the AAA Building) who stated that there is litigation pending about what he claims was damage done to his leased building by the Statler wrecking crew. (AAA has a 99 year lease to 2015, even though they are not currently using the building).

Mr. Pieroni also stated that if some development were to take place on the Statler block, then he would not want to be an impediment. He stated that a developed Statler block would improve the value of his Michigan Building, so it would be foolish of him to stand in the way of it.

He also stated that he would like to be a part of that development (financially). I think he was alluding to the fact that he himself is not without financial means, and would like to be a partner in any such development.

Based on his comments, he hardly sounds like a unscrupulous businessman out just to make a buck on derelict property!

I should preface these comments by saying that I have met Mr. Pieroni twice, and had great conversations with a very "colorful and knowledgeable" individual. When I say that he is "not without means"... lets just say that financially he's done well in recent years.

(Message edited by Gistok on January 28, 2007)
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Erikd
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Username: Erikd

Post Number: 798
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Sunday, January 28, 2007 - 5:46 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

quote:

Promises of a prompt redevelopment plan have flitted into that great big Detroit promise in the sky...



False statements like this are largely responsible for the myth of all the "broken promises" and "failed developments" in Detroit.

Detroit has spent many years looking for people to redevelop various downtown buildings. Some of these buildings, such as the Book Cadillac and Vinton Building, were good candidates for redevelopment, and the city was able to make a deal happen. Unlike these other buildings, the Statler building was not a good candidate for redevelopment, but there was some interest in the site.

When the state offered to pay for the demolition of the Statler, the city jumped at the opportunity.

The city never made any promise for "prompt redevelopment" of the Statler site.

The city did say that it would be easier to attract a developer after the building was demolished, but there was never any promise of redevelopment.
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Milwaukee
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Username: Milwaukee

Post Number: 667
Registered: 08-2006
Posted on Sunday, January 28, 2007 - 8:38 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

The AAA building is between Broderick and the Statler site, correct?
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Gistok
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Username: Gistok

Post Number: 3513
Registered: 08-2004
Posted on Sunday, January 28, 2007 - 9:04 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

No, you're thinking of the David Whitney Building. The AAA Building is the 4 story building that is the lone survivor on the Statler block.
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Milwaukee
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Username: Milwaukee

Post Number: 668
Registered: 08-2006
Posted on Sunday, January 28, 2007 - 10:22 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Thanks
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Tony_pieroni
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Username: Tony_pieroni

Post Number: 18
Registered: 02-2006
Posted on Monday, January 29, 2007 - 2:43 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

A friend told me about this thread and since there seems to be some interest in the building I would be glad to respond. My company owns the building.

Some of this may have been included in my response to a previous thread. I cooperated with the City and the State in connection with the demolition of the Statler; I granted permission (as did the tenant, AAA) to fence in the building and the entire block during the demo process. I fully cooperated with the City and the State without any kind of compensation, and I could have gotten plenty because they could not have demolished the Statler without my cooperation.

The demolition contractor breached many saftey provisions in the State contract, including a requirement to safeguard my building during the demo process.

The contractor broke every safety rule in the book while the City, which had much supervisory control over the process, looked the other way. The contractor, while torch-cutting steel beams above my building, caught the roof on fire.

Notwithstanding that there were many witnesses to the torch cutting activities on that day, and at the time of the fire, the demo contractor consistently denied liability and denied torch cutting. It appears the contractor has now confessed, after I've spent a couple hundred thousand in legal and expert witness fees, to get at the truth. The trial was adjourned from last September to a date in April.

The DEGC spent thousands of dollars to fence in the entire Statler block and it's about the most piss-poor job I've ever seen. The fence is falling down and the gates won't lock. I then spent almost $20,000 to fence my building and board it up until the trial is over. During the baseball season, vandal took down the gate and were parking cars for money, and they made a lot; of course they weren't licensed, as I have to be, had no insurance, which I and other parking lot owners must have, and did not give the City any of the proceeds. The City could care less.

According to George Jackson of the DEGC (under oath, during a deposition), the City/DEGC has no plans for the block, and when they do, they won't need my building. My guess is that the City will sit on the property for fifteen years as it did with the Tuller Hotel site across the street, until they sold it to the Ilitch interests.

By the way, George Jackson of the DEGC told me several years ago (2003, I believe) that the Book Cadilac was basically a piece of crap, and could not be economically redeveloped, and that it would have been torn down long ago if it weren't for the meddling preservationists.

Welcome to Detroit.

I still plan to redevelop the building after all the litigation is resolved.

[Thanks, Gistok, for the kind words. I recall meeting you and learning about your definitive history of Legos. I hope your book is doing well.]

(Message edited by tony_pieroni on January 29, 2007)
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Milwaukee
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Username: Milwaukee

Post Number: 687
Registered: 08-2006
Posted on Tuesday, January 30, 2007 - 3:01 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Tony_pieroni, thanks for the post. That was interesting to know.

How likely is it that the building will be demolished? It is one small building on a big lot. It seems inevitable that some day a super block building will be built on the site. If it came between saving this old building and building a mid rise parking structure/loft building, then this building seems like it will quickly become a piece of forgotten history. Just looked at the roof from Atlas, it looks pretty badly damaged. The building seems far beyond renovation.
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The_rock
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Username: The_rock

Post Number: 1529
Registered: 11-2003
Posted on Tuesday, January 30, 2007 - 4:00 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Good luck to you Tony, both in your building and your litigation. I used to deliver mail in your building back in 1956 when I had a summer job at the Auto Club. It was a neat and tidy building,with the travel department and road service dept located on the lobby floor, and the upper floors were for the Auto Club execs, one of whom had a beautiful office with a lovely blue carpet, and also happened to be my father who was Director of Public Relations of the Club and Ass't General Manager of the Exchange ( the auto insurance end of the business.)He was in the United Artist and your building for a good 35 years.
It's interesting that you mention that bad guys had used the premises for illegal parking during the baseball season. There used to be a two story "low rise" parking structure next to your building toward Clifford. It had an Art Deco front, kinda interesting for a parking structure at the time.
Do you know what ever happened to the Auto Club
sign that was on the facade of the building? I don't know if I saw it previously on the Forum or elsewhere, but there is a very neat night scene photograph taken of the building and this particular sign.
Again, the best to you.
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Jjaba
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Username: Jjaba

Post Number: 4802
Registered: 11-2003
Posted on Tuesday, January 30, 2007 - 7:02 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Tony, jjaba and his meery bunch of protesters sat-in at AAA long about 1964. AAA would not hire black folks except to wash and scrub. Our group was called Detroit CORE. You have a nice lobby and many of us, not me, sat on the fantzy floors.

Some days later, we were invited into the United Artists Executive AAA suite for some serious talks. The sit-in got their attention, the talks were fruitful and we settled.

Then, the AAA left town for the friendly confines of Southfield Rd. in Dearborn and never came back.

In 1964, AAA wouldn't sell insurance to Blacks, and hired no white collar workers. Detroit CORE (Congress of Racial Equality) picketted for months on end without results until some of us sat-in and got hauled to jail by the police. That got their attention.

jjaba also remembers when The Rock threw 45 RPM records out the windows. Rock, ya coulda hurt somebody. As jjaba recalls, your father offered us some coffee up there. jjaba seriously doubts he was behind the racist policies.

jjaba, civil rights worker.
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Jjaba
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Username: Jjaba

Post Number: 4803
Registered: 11-2003
Posted on Tuesday, January 30, 2007 - 7:04 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Rock, did you make up those great Trip-Tiks for us? Although jjaba probably burned the AAA card while picketing, he sure loved those maps. We drove on many trips with AAA maps.

jjaba.
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Hornwrecker
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Username: Hornwrecker

Post Number: 1745
Registered: 04-2005
Posted on Tuesday, January 30, 2007 - 7:33 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)


AAA sign Bagley night

WSU/VMC
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Detourdetroit
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Username: Detourdetroit

Post Number: 257
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Tuesday, January 30, 2007 - 9:30 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

If memory serves, there were promises of a prompt redevelopment plan made at the Historic District Commission meeting... not nec. a prompt redevelopment! That is not to say the city hasn't been trying to shop the site... The problem with demolishing important urban buildings w/o a development in place is terminal loss of urban fabric. IMHO spending millions of state tax $$$ to whack a building of that caliber w/o any solid development deal in place is not prudent. It's bad philosophically.
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The_rock
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Username: The_rock

Post Number: 1530
Registered: 11-2003
Posted on Wednesday, January 31, 2007 - 6:14 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Thanks for the night shot of the building, hornwrecker. That's the one I recall from a previous post, probably one of yours.
Now I am going back a good 50 years ago, but I think the sign depicted in your photograph had been replaced by yet a more "modern" sign when I delivered my mail there! But memory fades after 600 months!
In your photo, you can see the 2 story parking structure I mention in my post to the current owner. I call it "art deco," maybe it is just some sort of ceramic tile on the front, but it was yellow in color, I am sure about that.

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