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Detroit Celebrates the Rebirth of Historic Spaces

Posted on Tuesday, December 23 2014 in Citylife

Whitney KraemerDesignGroup

Over the past few years, Detroiters have witnessed a transformation of spaces across the Motor City. Stores, schools and even entire skyscrapers that once stood empty have been converted from vacant spaces into symbols of Detroit’s revitalization.

Broderick Tower, where I formerly lived, once held the title of the nation’s third-tallest abandoned building. Driving by the structure at night nowadays, you’re greeted by the warm glow of 34-stories of apartment lights where once stood years of darkness.

Bob Kraemer, of the Kraemer Design Group, calls it “adaptive reuse.” Empty buildings with huge potential, paired with what he refers to as an “absolutely booming” housing industry in downtown Detroit, have created the perfect storm for his architectural design and historic preservation firm.

“Detroit has many beautiful historic downtown buildings that investors are converting into contemporary urban housing, hospitality and retail outlets,” said Kraemer, who serves as KDG principal.

The most recent feather in his team’s cap was the renovation of the historic David Whitney building in Grand Circus Park. Just down the block, they’re also working with Dan Gilbert’s Bedrock Real Estate to ready the landmark Wright Kay Building for high-end fashion designer John Varvatos.

This kind of revival has Detroit making national headlines. Just recently, the New York Times reported that the Galapagos Art Space is dodging Brooklyn for a new home in the Motor City.

These are just a few examples of recent rebirths of spaces in The D. In fact, the Downtown Detroit Partnership estimates that $6 billion has been invested in Detroit real estate development projects in greater downtown since 2006.


What are some of your favorite redeveloped buildings in Detroit?


To see some of Detroit’s redeveloped gems firsthand, get with groups like the Detroit Experience Factory and Show Me Detroit that offer customized tours.

By: Angela Hernandez

Photo Credit: Kraemer Design Group