Historic Detroit

Kresge Administration Building

On May 19, 1930, S.S. Kresge Co. moved into its new home at Temple Avenue and Second Boulevard on Cass Park.

This 250,000-square-foot headquarters was designed by Albert Kahn and commissioned by Sebastian S. Kresge, founder of the S.S. Kresge Co. The company opened its first store in 1898, a simple five-and-dime, and soon grew into a major national retailer.

In 1909, the company’s 42 stores had gross sales of about $5.1 million ($138.6 million today, when adjusted for inflation). By 1929, it had exploded in size to 597 stores and $156.3 million ($2.2 billion) in gross sales. Such growth required far bigger digs than its 18-story Kahn-designed building on Grand Circus Park that had opened just 16 years earlier.

Kresge would go on to start Kmart (hence the “K”). The retailer abandoned this building in 1972 for a new 906,000-square-foot headquarters in suburban Troy, which it in turn left in 2006 after merging with Sears Holding Co.

This Art Deco gem is a research, startup and creative space owned by Wayne State University.