The David Whitney Building lit up for the holidays in 1970

For 100 years, the David Whitney Building has been an iconic building in Downtown Detroit. Now an Aloft  hotel and apartments, the building has undergone some serious changes since this photo was taken.

The above photo shows Grand Circus Park with the David Whitney Building centered in the photo. Taken at night form an elavated position, you can see a Christmas tree decoration on the roof as well as other decorations along Washington Blvd and Woodward Ave.

The David Broderick Tower and the Madison Theatre are on the left edge of frame, and the Statler Hotel is on the right edge. The Penobscot’s antenna is also decorated from the season.

The building is a nineteen-story Chicago style skyscraper. The first five stories enclosed an atrium that allowed light to enter into its many shops. However, after the modernization of the David Whitney Building in the 1950’s many of the shops were converted to medical and dental offices.

The cornices that once created a Romanesque feel were removed in order to make the Whitney Building seem more modern.  Because many physicians wanted office locations near the hospitals they practiced in, they vacated the Whitney building by 1980, creating a serious economic problem for the owners of the Whitney Building, the Montreal Corporation.

In the late 1990’s the Whitney building was sold at foreclosure value and sat empty or nearly empty for many years before undergoing a recent top-to-bottom renovation. The building reopened in 2014 and now houses an Aloft boutique hotel and about 100 apartments.

FOX 2 thanks the Detroit Historical Society for this and all of our Throwback Thursday posts.

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