We were alerted yesterday in Facebook posts by Mark Hall and others that crews were on site at the Ansonia / Atlanta Apartments. The very same structures that Olympia slated for demolition earlier this summer. Preservation Detroit worked closely with our partners in the city and all of YOU to raise awareness about the importance of the historic fabric of the Cass Corridor and to protect these buildings with an interim historic designation. https://www.change.org/p/city-of-detroit-councilmembers-prevent-the-demolition-of-the-hotel-ansonia-and-atlanta-apartments Rehabilitation for these structures has been and remains a viable option.
The activity observed at the site over the last 48 hours is most definitely a cause for alarm, and we are pleased and grateful to see the local preservation community mobilize. We are also trying doggedly to communicate with our partners in the city and find out exactly what is happening but it is important to note that these buildings do not have an interim historic designation from the City of Detroit as a result of council action on June 27, 2017.
Conflicting information has been provided by the crew as well as the City of Detroit about the future of the Ansonia and Atlanta. Our sources at the City of Detroit confirm that NO permits have been pulled for demolition. The city has also spoken directly to representatives of Olympia Development who have said their crews are onsite for hazardous material abatement – a process that is required to occur regardless of whether the buildings are scheduled for rehabilitation or demolition. However, city officials have also confirmed that no hazardous remediation permits have been pulled, which is troubling.
On June 27, after the City Council voted unanimously to approve an interim designation for the apartment buildings, the Council reversed the decision. Preservation Detroit understands this decision was made as a compromise with Olympia in exchange for pulling the previously filed demolition permits for these structures. Preservation Detroit has continued to work on behalf of these buildings and appropriate process since this reversal, pressing city government for accountability and transparency.
While grassroots advocacy efforts are a critical part of preservation we know that the rehabilitation of our city’s historic structures ultimately relies on developers with vision, local governments that value historic resources and economic programs that incentivize preservation efforts. NOW IS THE TIME to reach out to your City Council representative and ask them what they will do to ensure that these buildings are protected, absent an interim historic designation, and how they will advocate for historic structures in the future.