DETROIT-City officials are conducting a structural survey of the Book Cadillac Hotelin Downtown Detroit, to determine if the 77-year-old, 1,200-room building can be saved for future development. Todd Carmody, a member of the Detroit Economic Growth Corp., says the study will allow his quasi-public organization, and the Downtown Development Authority, to decide if they want to reuse the well-known landmark.

The two entities acquired the building this summer from a collection of private investors through bankruptcy hearings, after a two-year court fight to get the hotel under city control. Both the DEGC and the DDA want to either rebuild the hotel or tear it down, similar to the demolition of the popular J.L. Hudson’s building three years ago.

There have already been a few assessments performed on the property, and some say the building is unusable due to water damage.

“First we’ll do a load-bearing survey to see if the steel is still sound,” Carmody says. “If we assume the steel is OK, then we’ll take a look at the structural steel, and the ceiling heights, etc. We want to be sure a developer could use the building before we decide whether to demolish it.”

The hotel was designed by architect Louis Kamper, and is located in DowntownDetroit at the corner of Washington Blvd. and Michigan Ave. In it’s day it was one of the grandest of hotels in the city being 32 stories tall with 1,200 rooms and about 800,000-sf of space, complete with gargoyles, three large crystal chandeliers in the ballroom and a treasure trove of copper and brass that has since been stripped off by vandals.

At the time of its completion, it was the largest hotel in the world. It closed its doors in 1986, and has sat vacant as many development plans have come and gone.

Carmody says the DEGC hopes to have an idea of what can be done with the hotel by January.

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