The Wurlitzer Building, standing at the corner of John R and Broadway, is a reminder of Detroit’s musical legacy. Built in 1926, the 14-story building served as a showroom and offices for the Wurlitzer company, a well-known organ, jukebox, and musical instrument manufacturer.
As the much more detailed article at HistoricDetroit.org notes, the Wurlitzer underwent several renovations, adding more showroom space, a repair shop, and a small auditorium.
Wurlitzer left in the 1970’s, with the remaining tenants leaving shortly thereafter. The building closed for good in 1982.
Today the Wurlitzer Building cuts a lonely figure on the Detroit skyline: bracketed on either sides by the vacant Metropolitan and Broderick buildings, occasionally shedding bricks and hunks of façade. While the owner started interior demolition work in late 2011, plans for renovating the building went nowhere. There are also serious concerns about the structural stability of the building. On several occasions bricks and large sections of wall have fallen off onto nearby buildings and the alley behind. The city has sought to have the building demolished, fearing that large section of the facade could come down at any moment.
The building was for sale, with an asking price of $650,000, down from $2.1M a few years ago. But in October of 2012, the Wurlitzer was bought by an Israeli developer, who reportedly has "major plans" for the building.