Sunday, February 10, 2013

coolest parking garage ever


Detroit, once the center of automotive manufacturing. Now, a reminder of the results of failure. The movie Alex Cross (good action thriller) used the abandoned and deteriorated Packard plant, and this parking garage (formerly the Michigan Theater) as prime filming locations for chasing and confronting the antagonist character, perhaps symbolically of the mighty university degreed Sherlockian detective vs the morally decayed assassin tortured psycho. Or just incredibly cheap movie sets in poor desperate Michigan for Hollywood movie production budgets to stretch multiple times farther than in Los Angeles


Built in the roaring 1920's excess as the best theater in the midwest, Italian Renaissance styled, but bankrupt by the 50's, and then used to screen hockey games and stage rock and roll concerts... it was then abandonded. Just like so much of Detroit and Michigan when the car makers began to have competition from Europe and lost the focused attention of the worlds car buyers.


The lobby was 4 stories of vast area under a ceiling with 10 foot crystal chandeliers


When they began to demolish the theater, it apparently began to destabilize the adjoining 13 story office building, and destruction was stopped. But with nothing under the ornate decayed ceiling 8 stories above the seats, and parking becoming a problem for the 1970's land yachts, the idea for a parking garage was brought about. Ironic, the theater was hurt most because it had no parking for it's customers, and the competition did.



Many websites are so-so with images of this wonder of parking garages, but see the movie Alex Cross and you'll get a series of movie scenes in the garage, in the projectionists booth, above the false ceiling, etc etc. Best look at it short of a trip to Detroit.

Images and info from http://www.urbanghostsmedia.com/2011/04/michigan-theater-detroits-famous-renaissance-style-parking-garage/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michigan_Building
http://weburbanist.com/2011/01/01/detroits-michigan-theater-the-worlds-most-beautiful-parking-lot/

Unlike the above sites in 2011, the forum http://www.detroityes.com/mb/archive/index.php/t-6538.html?s=a308c97274561d367369c36cd763a0c9 did some research on the parking in 2010 and says that it's off limits to the general public during normal business hours, due to the limited spaces (130) and that the office building tenants have scooped the spaces early every business day

During non-business hours the parking is used for sporting events, mainly football and baseball, a loyal clientele who often park there during game days,  especially during football games when tailgating is done without the worry of inclement weather.

for many articles about Detroit preservation and tours of this and other abandoned, neglected, etc etc points of historic interest: http://preservationdetroit.org/about/press/ which can be summed up as a lot of buildings are planned to be destroyed for parking. 

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