Discuss Detroit Archives - Beginning January 2007 Fine Arts Building aka "Adams Theatre" Previous Next
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Superduperman
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Username: Superduperman

Post Number: 186
Registered: 01-2005
Posted on Sunday, January 28, 2007 - 3:45 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Does anybody know where I can get the floor plans for the Adams theatre or describe what the inside of the building for the top 4 floors look like,thanks in advance.
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Lmichigan
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Username: Lmichigan

Post Number: 5065
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Sunday, January 28, 2007 - 4:11 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Probably Ilitch Holdings.
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Superduperman
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Username: Superduperman

Post Number: 187
Registered: 01-2005
Posted on Sunday, January 28, 2007 - 5:24 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Thanks,I noticed the banner sez "Development Oppurtunities,blah,blah" but does anyone know if the building is for sale or are they looking to a partnership with someone or lease the entire building,any and all informations is much appreciated.
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56packman
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Username: 56packman

Post Number: 949
Registered: 12-2005
Posted on Sunday, January 28, 2007 - 5:06 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)


adams orignal interior





the interior was extensively remodeled, very little of it is as original, but this is what it used to look like
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Kathleen
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Username: Kathleen

Post Number: 1888
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Sunday, January 28, 2007 - 5:10 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Aren't the Fine Arts Building and the Adams Theatre two separate buildings that are connected? If I remember correctly, one entered the Adams Theatre through a lobby inside or just next to the Fine Arts Building.
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Hornwrecker
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Username: Hornwrecker

Post Number: 1743
Registered: 04-2005
Posted on Sunday, January 28, 2007 - 5:35 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)


Adams Theatre
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Leland_palmer
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Username: Leland_palmer

Post Number: 210
Registered: 08-2004
Posted on Sunday, January 28, 2007 - 5:44 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I don't think much of the building is salvageable. I read in Hour Detroit this summer that Ilitch was

"looking at a proposal to save the historic facade of the Fine Arts Building. The remaining structure will be torn down and replaced with housing and ground-floor shops and eateries."

http://www.hourdetroit.com/det roiteroftheyear.php
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Kathleen
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Username: Kathleen

Post Number: 1889
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Sunday, January 28, 2007 - 7:26 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Thanks, Hornwrecker. Given the title of this thread, I wanted to clarify the two buildings. That map illustrates the situation perfectly!!!
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Gistok
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Username: Gistok

Post Number: 3514
Registered: 08-2004
Posted on Sunday, January 28, 2007 - 9:25 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Although I don't know the date the Fine Arts Building was constructed, it does predate the 1917 opening of the Adams Theatre.

It appears that one of the Fine Arts Building storefronts was later carved out as a rather unpretentious long narrow lobby for the later theatre. The Adams Theatre was an "Alley Jumper"... where main floor patrons entered the theatre via a tunnel underneath the alley, and balcony patrons entered the theatre via a catwalk above the alley.

It's true that much of the sparse plaster ornamentation was removed in an earlier remodeling. And this theatre was really lacking in theatre circulation space.
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Swingline
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Username: Swingline

Post Number: 685
Registered: 11-2003
Posted on Monday, January 29, 2007 - 11:56 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

The Ilitch organization has allowed the building and theater to fall into extensive disrepair. You can't tell from the street but both parts of the buildings are open to the elements from the roof. The same kind of neglect led to the purported structural issues that ultimately led to the Madison Lenox demolition fiasco. Now, structural issues are quickly becoming a problem at the Fine Arts.

As a condition of the sale of the GAR Building, the city should force Ilitch to put a roof on the Fine Arts.
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Gistok
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Username: Gistok

Post Number: 3524
Registered: 08-2004
Posted on Monday, January 29, 2007 - 12:05 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

When they purchased it in 1990, it was a working theatre. Based on the comments from Hour Magazine, only the facade of the Fine Arts Building will be saved, with a new structure replacing the collapsing building behind it.

The former Preservation Wayne Executive Director mentioned to me once that there is a 2 inch coating of mold all over the auditorium surfaces. It looks all fuzzy in there.

With downtown Detroit running low on remaining unrestored theatre space (only the Adams and the United Artists are left), it's a shame that this (1,700 seat) theatre looks beyond repair, if more theatre space is ever needed.
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Bob
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Username: Bob

Post Number: 1320
Registered: 11-2003
Posted on Monday, January 29, 2007 - 12:12 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Don't forget about the National Theatre. That also still exists and is full of rumors of renovation.
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56packman
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Username: 56packman

Post Number: 951
Registered: 12-2005
Posted on Monday, January 29, 2007 - 12:24 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

We have a lot of theatre space in this town--if you save a theatre, you have to use a theatre. Present the business case and lets talk about it. I've never had a soft spot for the Adams--I used to go there when it was doing first run shows--it was a plain jane "classical" style early movie/vaudeville house, was "moderne-ized" in the 40's, then given the Community theatres gold drape treatment in the 60's, then split up into little multi-boxes. None of this was good for preserving an original theatre. But you have to have a use (need) for it beyond just saving the building. I am very thankful that MOT stepped forward and saved the Broadway Capitol (now KA "the detroit Opera house") they had a use for the building, wanted it, bought it from the absentee owner in Maryland (who only vaguely knew that he owned it) and put serious $$$$$$$x5 to work making it what it is today. I don't see the business case for the Adams.
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Gistok
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Username: Gistok

Post Number: 3525
Registered: 08-2004
Posted on Monday, January 29, 2007 - 12:35 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I agree 56packman, it's just that the Ilitch's have never been very good at "mothballing" anything. Even the United Artists is in such bad condition now. It wasn't when David Grossman owned it.

The Adams was a middling theatre, but the United Artists was a true movie palace in the ornate sense. That theatre will be a true loss if it's torn down, especially since it had such wonderful accoustics. The UA never had a theatre organ, did it?

(Message edited by Gistok on January 29, 2007)
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Barnesfoto
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Username: Barnesfoto

Post Number: 2970
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Monday, January 29, 2007 - 1:15 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

The Adams was open a year or so ago.
I had a look. It's in very rough shape and not (IMO) worth saving. Too bad that the Ilitches couldn't be bothered to put a roof on it.
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56packman
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Username: 56packman

Post Number: 952
Registered: 12-2005
Posted on Monday, January 29, 2007 - 1:21 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I was in the UA BEFORE Grossman owned it (well, actually I've been there many times between 1965 and 2000, the most memorable being the 1975 auction) and the place was gone then--I'm talking 1990-'91. you could see the moon and stars through the rear auditorium ceiling, the basement was full of water. The only thing that I see happened under Mike's watch is the vandalism of cast plaster work from the "good" areas. I hated to see the UA gutted in '75, except for the wide-screen chopping of the proscenium arch and the metal framed gold curtain thing put up to cover it and the whitewash paint job covering the earthy colors, everything was still there. The UA had a Wurlitzer, a model 260 special. It came out after the auction, was restored in a rental unit in madison Heights and installed in the "Pied Piper Pizza Peddler" restaurant at the Universal Mall (Warren) back in the early 80's. That operation went belly up. It's now in the Long center (nee Mars theatre, Layfette, IN). The UA was supposed to be a dynamite organ, the chambers were behind the tall plaster grilles on either side of the proscenium, and the openings were huge, into that fantastic acoustic. I would love to see the place saved, but don't know where THAT kind of money would come from. There are only two flavors of performing art organizations that can get the GP-BH biggies to open their wallets and checkbooks--Symphony and Opera. Each of those organizations have done their bit for the historic houses, Detroit is a better town for their having done so. First rule of historic preservation: you can't save 'em all, learn to pick your battles.

(Message edited by 56packman on January 30, 2007)
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Bob
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Username: Bob

Post Number: 1322
Registered: 11-2003
Posted on Monday, January 29, 2007 - 2:26 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Yes, the UA did have good acoustics. The DSO did some recording there in the late 70s, due the fact that Ford Aud had poor acoustics and the engineers said they could not record there (according to the DSO principal flutist on the DSO Unmasked program on WRCJ). They had to haul in portable heaters since the UA had no heat at the time, but they had to shut them off when recording, so it was quite cold in there.
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Psip
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Username: Psip

Post Number: 1371
Registered: 04-2005
Posted on Monday, January 29, 2007 - 3:49 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Bob, I also heard that program on WRCJ, fascinating.

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