Thursday, January 24, 2008

What Goes Up

In 1924, Detroit's Book-Cadillac Hotel was the tallest hotel in the world and the tallest building in Detroit. Built in popular Italian Renaissance style, its decor leaned toward the more lavish Venetian manner. Famous for its dining areas and clubs, it was the hub of social activity for many years. It reigned for 60 years, though, in the later years, showed its age -- like a fading matinee idol whose collar and cuffs are frayed and whose tie is stained with food spots. The hotel closed its doors in 1984. Ornamental metal and chandeliers were stripped from the building and wood paneling and wallpapers suffered from water leaks and vandalism.

Twenty years later, plans for redevelopment included creating a 455-room luxury hotel topped with 67 upscale apartments. The $180 million project is scheduled to be completed in the fall of 2008.

"Should I take my camera?" I asked our host as we prepared to take a hard-hat tour of the work-in-progress.

"No," I was told. "There's not much to see yet."

We took the construction elevator up 30 floors to the roof where we got a bird's eye view of the city. And me without my camera!!!!!

Inside, we toured a $1.5 million, three-level apartment -- had to use lots of imagination since it was still at dry-wall stage. We walked down a floor to see a smaller unit, then down another few floors to see what would become hotel rooms.

And then came the bad news! We were not taking the elevator down. Yep, we walked down 60 flights (30 floors) of stairs. I wouldn't have thought I could do it but I didn't have a choice. What goes up.....and I did. But it took two days for the backs of my calves to recover.

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