Historic Detroit

Every building in Detroit has a story — we're here to share it

Plaza Apartments

The Plaza Apartments was a beautiful but short-lived building that stood on the southwest corner of Madison and John R streets in downtown Detroit.

The building was announced in September 1902 and was designed by architect S.C. Falkinburg.

It was "intended to eclipse any structure of its class heretofore attempted in Michigan," the Detroit Free Press wrote in its Sept. 21, 1902, edition. It had a frontage of 60 feet on Madison Street and 100 feet on John R. It stood eight stories high, with red sandstone trimmings on the exterior's first floor and trimmings of Bedford cut limestone the rest of the way up. The front steps leading to the main entrance were of Italian white marble, which was also used for wainscoting on the first floor. The building had 62 suites of rooms, each with a bathroom but lacked a kitchen.

It was estimated to cost $125,000 (about $3.7 million today, when adjusted for inflation).

George E. Carrie was awarded the contract for excavation that December, and the building was ready that fall. During construction, Frank Clover died after falling 40 to 50 feet on Aug. 14, 1903.

Articles of association for the Plaza Co. were filed Oct. 6, 1904.

Around 1914, the apartments were remodeled at an expense of $30,000.

The building appears to have been demolished in the 1920s, possibly for parking for its next door neighbor, the Capitol Theatre, today known as the Detroit Opera House. The site is used for parking now, at any rate.

Last updated 03/08/2019