Monday, May 18, 2009

Tear that Shiz Down

The Michigan Central Depot has stood vacant and utterly abandoned since the fine year of 1988 in honor of my sixth birthday. Well, abandoned except for the occasional movie that films scenes in the Central Depot intended to represent something along the lines of "really cool decay and dereliction." The depot stands almost immediately west of the heart of downtown Detroit and I'm pretty sure is meant to remind us of ineffective leaders who can decide neither to tear the thing down or to try to remodel it. On April 7th, 2009, the Detroit City Council finally passed a resolution aimed at tearing down the depot. A resolution in and of itself is still miles from actual demolition, but it's a step in one specific direction. The Freep and Detroit News are both reporting today that the city council is delaying its decision to raze the depot. Here's where, I think, this gets ridiculous.

After 20+ years, the attorney for the company that owns the land stated that "the company needed a 'reasonable period of time to come up with development plans.'" For small decisions, a reasonable amount of time is somewhere between 5 and 30 seconds, as in, "Should I buy that pack of gum? Yes!!" For moderate decisions, a reasonable amount of time is 1 hour-7 days, like "How many buffets should I eat at on my honeymoon? At least five!" Large decisions can take anywhere from 1 day - 3 months, and huge, gigantic, massive, decisions should take between 2 weeks and 2 years. The company that owns this spot on earth has had 20 years to figure out what they should do with their property, and in the hopes of free money for "urban renewal" or "tax subsidies for casinos", they have let it just sit there, like a steaming pile of Taj Mahal-shaped dog poo. It might be shaped like something beautiful, but it's still a pile of poo.

I know it would be pretty freaking awesome if Detroit could somehow pull it together to restore the Central Depot. Estimates for restoration have generally ranged between $80M-$300M, and different people have suggested many different uses for the depot, including housing the Detroit police headquarters and possibly even a casino. The land that holds the depot belongs to a guy by the name of Matty Moroun - the same guy who owns the Ambassador Bridge - and this guy is a billionaire. I am the last person who wants to ever let go of the past, but it is time to let go of this past. It would probably be cheaper to raze the whole building and build a full-scale replica of the Central Depot on the exact same spot than to rebuild and remodel within the existing decrepit infrastructure. The council was on the path to finally making a decision, but maybe 20 more years well help the owners figure out what do to with the spot? We can't wait and hope that Transformer 3: The Revenge of Transformation will film at the Central Depot.

No comments: