Archives for June 2014

El Moore Construction Update: Week of June 23, 2014

The past few weeks have been busy ones on the El Moore site. Monahan Brothers and their selected contractors have been working on every floor of the building, adding foundational elements to the structure. One of the most easily visible signs of progress is the elevator tower, located to the left of the main building (if facing it). By June 25th, the tower was at the second floor level of the building. Insulation was being added to each level as it was completed. Here's a look at the elevator tower from the front of the building. The rooftop cabins have also made progress, with window frames going in and insulation applied to the inside of each room. Plumbing and electrical are continuing to go in. The orange pipe, below, are part of the fire suppression supply … [Read more...]

An introduction to sustainability and the El Moore project

The El Moore building project is a great example of sustainable development. However the term, “Sustainable Development”, has a fairly wide definition, and can mean many different things to many different people. The most widely accepted definition comes from the Brundtland Commissions 1987 report and defines sustainable development as, “development which meets the needs of current generations without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”. This is the definition that best fits the El Moore’s goals of reducing environmental impact through proper planning and use of different energy saving building techniques. While it is these techniques and energy saving efforts that bring the El Moore’s goals in line with the definition of sustainable development, the … [Read more...]

Historic Reuse – Using Our Past to build Our Future

Right there on the corner where Cass and Amsterdam meet up is an historic building recently purchased by Wayne State University and repurposed/converted into a new biomedical research facility as part of its TechTown District expansion. Not all old buildings in Detroit are quite so lucky. Those who know the building’s history as one of the city’s most successful Cadillac dealerships for more than 40 years (Dalgleish Cadillac, established in 1972, was originally designed to be a Pontiac and Buick dealership) were happy to see it rescued from an all-too-common Detroit fate of demolition or, perhaps worse, becoming another poster child for ruin porn. But sometimes when you rescue a thing, particularly an historic (read ‘old’) thing, the entire thing cannot be saved.  And since there … [Read more...]

Construction update – Focus on the roof and the basement

Significant changes are happening to the two areas of the building: the roof and the basement.  Before we bought the building, we knew that it had stood vacant for many years, in part because the economic model for its future wasn't clear to prospective buyers. When we looked into the economics of resurrecting the building, one thing was clear: it would not be able to be profitable by renting out 4 floors of apartments. If we charged comparable prices for the neighborhood, the numbers just didn't add up. So we decided to utilize a combined approach: 3 floors of yearly rentals and nightly rentals on the first floor and basement. We had also noticed that the further up we went in the building, the more beautiful the views. We eventually decided that in order to complete our sustainable … [Read more...]

Casey Kasem

Recently, America said goodbye to radio icon Casey Kasem, longtime host of “American Top 40.” (Maybe some of our younger readers will recognize him as the voice of "Shaggy" on the Scooby Doo cartoons.) What’s the connection to the El Moore, you ask? As with the Green Garage,  part of the research we’ve done on the El Moore includes the history of the building and its surrounding neighborhood.  We wanted to know everything we could discover about the El Moore; When was it built? Who built it? Who lived in it and what did they do? Who were their neighbors? Just a few weeks ago, Jason Peet and Keith Owens made a trip to the City of Detroit Historic Designation Advisory Board where, with the help of Janese Chapman, they were able to collect information on each structure on the Alexandrine … [Read more...]

Listening in on Cass history…

The El Moore which is in Midtown, which used to be the Cass Corridor, which is in Detroit, which is in Michigan. The point being that there are so many different lenses through which to view the El Moore and the surrounding neighborhood. History is not a single stream, and nothing/no one exists out of context. So as we amble along on this journey, somewhat as a skeleton picking up scraps of history to be added as flesh to our bones along the way (gruesome image, I know), it becomes clear that sometimes you have to stop and listen to what somebody else has to say. For example this wonderful excerpt from  "Would the Real Midtown Please Stand Up?" , posted two years ago on the Detroit blog Critical Moment: Origins of the Modern Corridor According to Hogg, The Corridor really didn’t … [Read more...]

The El Moore neighborhood. Where we are.

  Context is everything, and location is most certainly context. To get a better idea of where the El Moore is located, and thus a better understanding of its context, you need to know where we are. From Wiki: Midtown Detroit is a mixed-use area containing a business district, cultural center, university, and residential neighborhoods located along the east and west side of Woodward Avenue between Downtown Detroit and the New Center. The community area of neighborhoods is bounded by the Chrysler Freeway (I-75) on the east, the Lodge Freeway (M-10) on the west, the Edsel Ford Freeway (I-94) on the north, and the Fisher Freeway (I-75) on the south.[1]The vibrant area includes several historic districts, … [Read more...]

We’re in CURBED!

                    Not that we do it for the recognition, but when recognition does come our way we  must say it feels good. So when we noticed that our very own El Moore was recently reviewed in CURBED Detroit, well, that was pretty cool. Here is some of what they had to say on May 30, 2014: "The renovation is a project of Green Garage, an eco-friendly business incubator headquartered in Midtown. According to spokesman Jason Peet, the 1898 building will be outfitted with a long list of green technologies including high-efficiency insulation and geothermal wells. "Including four rooftop cabins, El Moore Lodge will offer ten hostel rooms, each with a private bathroom. As for conventional apartments, … [Read more...]