Photo via Library of Congress

A distinctive downtown Detroit landmark may face demolition — so its owner can build a parking structure. The State Savings Bank (151 W. Fort St.) was built in 1900 by McKim, Mead, and White and expanded in 1914 by Donaldson and Meier. It is currently owned by Canadian developer Andreas Apostolopoulos, who purchased the building in 2012 for $700,000. When Apostolopoulos announced in Aug. 2012 that he was planning to demolish the building for parking, he met such ardent opposition from local preservationists that he rescinded his plans, stating that he would instead rehabilitate the structure.

Now, he appears to have changed his mind. The City of Detroit Historic District Commission has received a petition to demolish the State Savings Bank. The petition is subject to a public hearing, which is scheduled for the next Historic District Commission meeting on Wednesday, August 14. Preservation Detroit adamantly opposes the demolition of the State Savings Bank. This Beaux Arts gem is integral to our cityscape, and we strongly believe that a dense, walkable, historic urban core is fundamentally important to Detroit’s future.

Furthermore, the demolition of the State Savings Bank would be an embarrassing step in the wrong direction for downtown Detroit and an insult to developers who have invested money, sweat and vision in the revitalization of the downtown core. Developments such as the Grand Army of the Republic, the Book-Cadillac, Security Trust Lofts, the Broderick Tower, the David Whitney Building, 1520 and 1528 Woodward, Capitol Park’s burgeoning comeback, and numerous projects led by Dan Gilbert have recognized that adaptive reuse of historic structures builds a more memorable and uniquely marketable place.

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