Building Description Park Avenue Hotel, Detroit Michigan
The Park Avenue Hotel is a thirteen story steel frame, brick, limestone, and terra-cotta- clad building located on the southwest corner of Park Avenue and Sproat Street, six blocks north of Grand Circus Park. The overall footprint of the building is rectangular, measuring eighty feet on Sproat and one hundred twenty-five feet on Park. The Park Avenue's Italian Renaissance-inspired exterior treatment is modeled after urban palazzos, with a three-story base finished in large blocks of limestone, a plain central section above the base, and a more highly finished top or attic crowned by a cornice.
The hotel stands opposite the former Eddystone Hotel, located on the northwest corner of Park and Sproat. The two former hotels are vacant and are among the few remaining structures that have survived the decline of the surrounding neighborhood. The two hotels are located just two blocks east of the newly designated Cass Park Historic District and one block west of Woodward Avenue, Detroit's primary thoroughfare.
The Park Avenue Hotel's primary facade material is buff-colored brick with limestone quoins on the southeast, northeast, and northwest corners of the building. The east (front) and north facades and the east bay of the south facade are similar in composition with smooth limestone ashlar on the first, second and third floors forming the building's base and decorative terra-cotta window treatments on the fourth, twelfth and thirteenth floors. The building is capped with a decorative terra-cotta cornice.
The Park Avenue facade exhibits the vast expanse of the plain wall surface of a tall building relieved with decorative Italian Renaissance detailing. The east (front) elevation facing Park is symmetrical and eight bays in width, the six center bays each containing sets of paired double hung windows and the end bays each a single double hung window in the second to thirteenth stories. The windows on the fourth floor are framed by terra-cotta trim - each having a surround with a keystone and a bracketed cap. The windows in the central bays are square-headed but the two end bay windows have segmental pediments. The windows in the central-height part of the facade between the fifth and eleventh floors are set into the brick facade with no trim save plain slab limestone sills. The windows of the twelfth floor display terra-cotta surrounds echoing the design of those in the fourth story but with spandrels containing roundels beneath. The segmental pediment-capped end bay windows of the twelfth floor each have balconets. The windows of the thirteenth floor are framed by terra-cotta window surrounds with spandrels, each window capped with a relief of a broken pediment. The building is crowned with a terra-cotta cornice displaying dentils and modillions. This decorative detailing continues along the north elevation and the first bay of the south elevation.
The first floor of the east elevation contains the main entrance area and six storefront windows. The aluminum-framed lobby entrance doorway is located in the center flanked by two storefront windows now filled in with glass block. An aluminum canopy with the words SALVATION ARMY HARBOR LIGHT displayed on both ends extends over the entrance doorway and its side windows. The three windows south of the entrance area have been filled in with glass block, the three windows on the north side of the entrance have been bricked in, and the transoms have been filled in with wood paneling. Two metal flagpoles project from the second floor facade just above the main entrance.
The north elevation is composed of five bays with sets of paired double hung windows in the center bays and single double hung windows in the end bays from the second to the thirteenth floors. The first floor has six metal-framed storefront windows, three filled with brick and three with glass block.
The south elevation is plain with the exception of the east bay, which continues the decorative detailing of the front elevation. The elevation is composed of five bays with the center bays containing sets of paired double hung windows and the end bays each containing one double hung window in each story. All of the original wood-framed double hung windows in the east, north and south elevations have been replaced with new metal-framed double hung ones.
The west elevation is a plain wall with the exception of the northernmost bay that continues the decorative detailing of the north elevation. The west elevation displays eleven bays of windows containing metal-framed modern windows of various compositions. The Salvation Army logo and the most recent building name, HARBOR LIGHT CENTER, are painted across the top of the building. The roof contains a large one-story brick penthouse, with industrial windows, that houses a small auditorium and the elevator machinery.
The interior of the building has been well maintained by the Salvation Army and although the building is now vacant, it has been well secured. The first floor has undergone extensive renovation. The storefront space has been altered from ten stores into two larger public spaces. The main entrance to the hotel from Park leads to a long lobby in the center of the building where the elevators are located opposite the reception desk. The lobby has been modernized but the original wood reception desk remains. A lounge is located beyond the lobby on the north side of the building and retains its original decorative wood paneling and doorways. The former dining room has a wood-beamed ceiling and is located next to the lounge.
The floor plan of the guest rooms on the upper floors remains basically as built, although some rooms have been altered to accommodate offices and public areas. Although most of the guest rooms have been remodeled, some of the suites still retain original amenities such as fireplaces, closets and bookcases.
A penthouse located above the thirteenth floor contains a modest auditorium with stage. It displays no decorative detailing. Large industrial windows in the penthouse afford a spectacular view of the surrounding city.