I know very little about this appealing structure. Usually, it is possible to locate extensive information about buildings that are included within National Register Historic Districts. Not this one. However, I have not read all the documentation that was submitted for the listing of this historic district. I read that this structure dates from the 1920s and was used as an apartment building. I wonder if that is correct. The building may have been erected closer in time to the building across the street, the Hotel Charlevoix, which dates from 1905. The array of windows in this Blenheim Building suggests that it may have been designed for light manufacturing. It seems strange now to think of downtown Detroit as a center for manufacturing, but shortly after 1900, it was since many manufacturing shops were small and could occupy just one floor of a modest sized building.
If you are familiar with the history of this building and its architect, I would like to hear from you. The Illich holding company has invested in the renovation of several structures in the Park Avenue Historic District including the Iodent Building that now contains lofts or condominiums. I have heard rumors that the Blenheim and other buildings along this interesting if currently underutilized street are considered for renovation. However, in early 2012, there were no signs of renovation activities. In the summer of 2013, the Illich firm and the Downtown Development Authority announced plans to build a new area for the Detroit Red Wings just to the west of this area. The plans call for the development of an entertainment and commercial district. Included was mention of a plan to renovate the Blenheim Building with the street level devoted to commercial space and the upper floors converted into 16 apartments.
Architect: Unknown to me
Date of construction: Unknown to me.
Use in 2012: Empty building awaiting reuse
City of Detroit Designated Historic District: Not listed
State of Michigan Registry of Historic Sites: This building is within, I think, the State of Michigan Park Avenue Historic District, P2,965
registered April 18, 1996.
National Register of Historic Places. This building is within the Park Avenue Historic District, #97000396. Listed: May 13, 1997.
Photograph: Ren Farley
Description updated: January, 2014
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