City Council is set to vote on the future of two buildings at the State Fairgrounds on Tuesday. While much of the Fairgrounds site is being built up for an Amazon distribution center, the city is also building a new Transit Center, with an entrance off 8 Mile.
An already approved plan would cost $7 million and see the demolition of two of the buildings on-site: the Dairy Cattle Building and the Coliseum. An amended $18 million plan submitted after a three-month feasibility study calls for the adaptive reuse of the buildings for the project. The Dairy Cattle Building would be used for the terminal, with bathrooms, vending machines, meeting rooms, and room for vendors. The Coliseum would largely be torn down, but the facade would be kept with an open-air plaza behind it.
The funds from the amended plan wouldn't come from the city's general fund, but from previously approved bond sales.
If the council doesn't approve the amended contract on Tuesday, the buildings could be demoed by the end of the year.
The bandshell from the fairgrounds was saved earlier this year and moved to a new location in Palmer Park.
Preservation Detroit sent a letter to City Council earlier this month urging them to consider adaptive reuse of the Coliseum. The letter also states:
We hope that the city may see historic resources as an asset, rather than an impediment to development and revitalization. Publicly held historic resources listed on the National Register of Historic Places or Locally Designated must be identified and studied at the onset of any public project before any deal is penned or paid for through public funding. They are an opportunity to honor and celebrate the culture, heritage, and identity of Detroiters. Requests for Proposals should be issued in these cases for proper due diligence and good faith efforts to save our historic and sacred places – acting proactively, rather than reactively.
Preservation Detroit has an action alert to contact Councilman Tate and tell him to vote for the revised plan which would save the Dairy Cattle Building and Coliseum facade.