DETROIT (WJBK) -
A massive fire forced out more than 100 college students and two local businesses, and left a historic building in shambles back in 2008.
A year later, a Wayne State University graduate bought the building, promising a big renovation. Now the project is finally close to being finished.
"It was absolutely so real." says building owner Scott Lowell. "Like 'Dante's Inferno,' just trucks everywhere. Flames. The entire top of the building was on fire. It was so real."
Scott Lowell is a Detroiter who grew up in the city, and bought this apartment building after it was nearly destroyed. The damages in most cases would have been too difficult to repair.
"The fire had gotten into the roof cabin and it had fallen to the fourth floor," says Lowell. "It was open to the elements. It was a lot of debris and weight. We needed to do something about that on order to have something to work with."
Now, renovations are almost complete for the 111 year-old building. The entrances, windows among other things are back to the way they were.
From the moment you walk in, there's an open lobby, back to the way it was in 1905. Also, the mill work and trim is back to the original state and the elevator is back operational for the first time since the fire in 2008.
Lowell says the renovations are a combination of modern and original.
"People want all of the modern conveniences," says Lowell. "Air conditioning, a new kitchen, but we wanted people to somehow get lost in the feel of the building, and feel if they let themselves go as though this would be of the era."