Park Avenue Hotel / Harbor Light Center

The Park Avenue Hotel was one of several upscale hotels built in the 1920's in Detroit's Cass Corridor neighborhood. Designed by Louis Kamper, the Park Avenue opened in 1924, featuring over 250 rooms that looked out over the rapidly spreading downtown area. Along with the Eddystone Hotel next door, the two buildings came to dominate their part of the skyline.

In the 1950's, the hotel business began to sour, and the Park Ave was sold to the Salvation Army, who converted into a senior home. Years later, the building was renamed the Harbor Light Center, and became a shelter and substance abuse rehabilitation center. The Harbor Light Center closed and moved in 2003, leaving the building vacant.

By 2003 long-term plans for the property were already in motion, as many of the properties around the former hotel were quietly sold to companies owned by the Illitch family, who wanted to build a hockey arena in the area. As the years went by, most of the buildings around the Park Ave and Eddystone buildings were demolished, leaving a vast expanse of land around them.

In 2014, formal plans for a new hockey arena were announced, and initially included restoring both the Park Ave and Eddystone hotels. However, by late 2014 plans had been altered to demolish one or both of the hotels, sparking protests by historic preservationists. Eventually the city agreed to let the Hotel Park Avenue be demolished if rehabilitation of the Eddystone Hotel was guaranteed.

The Park Avenue was imploded on July 11th, 2015.

For a much more comprehensive read about the history of the hotel, see