In the late 1940's, the slum neighborhoods around the northern side of downtown were razed as part of a wide-scale urban renewal effort. Modern glass and steel buildings designed by architects like Mies Van Der Roh sprang up on the freshly cleared land. One of these was the Medical Science Building of the Wayne State University, a T-shaped tower eight stories tall located along I-375.
Blueprints for the building were drawn up in February of 1951, and construction finished in 1952. Original blueprints indicate that a second building, similar to the first was planned, but never completed.
Shapero Hall was home to Wayne State University's College of Pharmacy, located on the main campus in midtown. In 1973 the pharmacy program was combined with other medical programs and became the College of Pharmacy and Allied Health Professions. Having outgrown the building on the main campus, the college was moved into the Medical Science Building in 1975, which was renamed Shapero Hall in 1984.
Several programs were located at Shapero Hall, including the college of pharmacy, mortuary sciences, clinical laboratory science, and radiation therapy. By the early 1990's, increased enrollment in the pharmacy program led to overcrowding at Shapero Hall. It's distant location from the main campus and high cost of renovation led to the decision to build a new facility and close Shapero Hall.
The College of Pharmacy and Allied Health Professions moved from Shapero Hall to the new Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy, which opened in May of 2002. The building was bought by property owner Dennis Kefallinos in 2007 for $2.3M, who wanted to convert the building into a hotel, but ran into problems with zoning ordinances. The building sat vacant and gradually fell victim to scrappers and the elements.
In May of 2012, the city announced that it planned to demolish Shapero Hall using money from federal grants, but increased demand for housing downtown put plans on hold. Renovation work began in August of 2014, with Kefallinos announcing that the building would be converted into a 180-unit apartment building in 2015.