Attacked from the rear. Demolition of the Lafayette Building begins.
Regular readers of this blog know that it is easy to get depressed about the state of things here in St. Louis. Then sometimes I read about events occurring elsewhere and feel pretty good about our fair City. Recently I had one of those moments when I read that demolition began this fall on the Lafayette Building in Detroit. In June of this year, the Detroit Downtown Development Authority had voted unanimously to demolish the building.
Reading the history of the building it is easy to think about the similar plight of the Arcade building here in St. Louis, once threatened with demolition by a former owner, then slated for redevelopment as condos, an hotel and office space, construction started, then empty again and waiting. The difference with the Arcade is the story's ending. Just a few weeks ago the City's Land Clearance Redevelopment Authority authorized a 10 year tax abatement on the Arcade Building to entice future redevelopment. Compared to the Arcade, the Lafayette would have been an easy rehab. The Lafayette is half the size and has only been empty since 1997 compared to 1978 with the Arcade Building.
In Detroit however, the story ends with an unenlightened city government squandering yet another potential jewel in Downtown. The same narrow narrow minds were responsible for the senseless destruction in 2006 of the former Detroit Statler in 2004-2005.