Despite  a last-minute effort by City Council last week, the vacant two-story building at 3143 Cass Avenue was demolished over the weekend. The building was owned by the Ilitch's Olympia Development. 

The two-story brick building was part of the former Chinatown neighborhood in Cass Corridor. Chinese-American leaders from the region gathered on Monday to talk about the history of the building and the neighborhood, and their hopes for historical reference at the site in the future.

Bridge Detroit reports,

“We have an opportunity to talk about what this community should add to this property to acknowledge the history of Chinatown and have something that serves the community as it stands,” said Roland Hwang, president of American Citizens for Justice, a civil rights organization founded on the second floor of the building 40 years ago.

The building dates back to 1883. It was once home to the Shanghai Cafe, as well as the Chinese Merchants Association, helping Asian-American families with business loans. 

It was also home to American Citizens for Justice, founded after the murder of Vincent Chin in 1982. 

The city issued a demolition order in 2019, and the city's Buildings, Safety, Engineering and Environmental Department put pressure on Olympia in the past few months to demolish the building or contest the order. Last week, City Council member Gabriela Santiago-Romero asked for historic designation of the site. While City Council voted to hold the demolition, the city itself said the vote wasn't legally binding.

The Ilitch family has a long history of buying buildings and doing nothing with them, often demolishing them and creating surface parking lots. This site sits a few blocks away from Little Caesars Arena. They're planning a larger development project with Related Companies that is supposed to break ground this summer.