The Lee Plaza, an Art Deco apartment building built in 1927 on W. Grand Boulevard, was perhaps the most ornate of its kind in Detroit. According to Historic Detroit
, "The Lee was decked out in extravagance by sculptor Corrado Parducci. The first floor was filled with marble, expensive woods, and elaborate plasterwork; its ornamental ceilings craned necks."
But after the Lee closed in 1997, scrappers ravaged it, even stealing the 50 terra cotta lion heads on the building's exterior. Dreams of redevelopment seemed doomed. No longer.
The thirst for historic redevelopment in Detroit is so great that the city is seeking requests for proposals to redevelop Lee Plaza, as well as the Woodland Apartments on Woodland Street just east of Woodward.
According to a press release, the two projects would total nearly 250 mixed-income units, 20 percent of which must be set aside for individuals making $38,000 a year or less.
"For years these buildings have been seen as a symbol of our city's decline. In partnership with developers in the community, they will become examples of the city's resurgence that is now reaching into more neighborhoods and becoming more accessible to people of all income levels," said Mayor Mike Duggan. "We've seen progress in the areas around both Lee Plaza and Woodland Apartments. While these are challenging projects, these buildings can become major anchors in these communities."
The development of Lee Plaza, which is expected to take several years, would also include the adjacent land. As for the Woodland, "the city is also encouraging developers to consider the site for permanent supportive housing for individuals experiencing homelessness."