The story of the El Moore goes back to 1898, when it opened as a luxury apartment building for well-to-do Detroiters. Once the Great Depression hit, the eight original apartments were divided into twenty-five cramped boarding rooms. The building enjoyed a renaissance in the 60s and 70s as home to artists and activists involved in the Cass Corridor community, but by the 90s, the building had been foreclosed and abandoned.
The El Moore entered our lives in 2010 as it was facing imminent demolition. With the incredible support from the local community and City of Detroit leadership, the Green Garage developed the El Moore – and the 6 vacant parcels next to it – as a sister project to our co-working community. While the Green Garage is an exploration of a sustainable way to work, the El Moore is an exploration of a sustainable way to live. These two special places are only three blocks from each other and we expect their activities to support each other and well as the community around them.
The El Moore includes:
- El Moore Lodge … an 11-room hotel in a Detroit neighborhood.
- El Moore Residences … a long-term resident community committed to a sustainable future.
- El Moore Gardens … a neighborhood garden open to visitors.
- El Moore Seasons Market … (in progress) a small scale grocery store offering local produce.
- El Moore Green Alley … a green alley, on the north side of the property, with environmentally and community sensitive design.
The El Moore project is an ongoing exploration of the nature of sustainable urban living. We are trying to find a new and meaningful harmony between nature and the urban environment. Park systems, the planting of trees, and even the spread of the suburbs have all been past solutions to the problem of how to live closely together while maintaining connectedness to nature. Detroit, with its vacant land and buildings and the extraordinary resilience of its people, offers a unique opportunity to re-imagine ways for nature and a city to coexist.
We are developers of sustainable communities…not just buildings. Detroit’s sustainable future needs to be accessible to all. We continue to have dialogues with the community on how our work can enhance the lives of those who already live in our neighborhood.
Our hope is this work can play a small but important role in defining a sustainable way forward for Detroit….and perhaps it might be helpful to others on this great earth.