Historic Detroit

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

Woodward Building

A block from Grand Circus Park, the Woodward Building was designed by architect Albert Kahn and constructed in 1915 for Siegel’s womenswear store.

The Woodward facade of the eight-story Woodward Building, located at the southwest corner of Woodward and Clifford, is arranged vertically in three bays with two windows in each per floor. The Clifford facade has five bays of windows, and five original window sets are still in place at the eighth and seventh floors.

This building remains essentially intact, with the exception of the replacement windows in the remainder of the building. At the third floor level, the windows in each bay are joined by arches that divide the lower third of the building from the upper portions. The spandrels and window surrounds were designed in black cast iron to recede, thus emphasizing the white terra cotta-clad skeleton. Crest and swag motifs ornament the spandrels. Terra cotta clad piers display incised decorative classical floral motifs.

The entablature features a panel above each bay of windows that contains a circle inset in its center; the denticulated cornice survives intact. The storefront, bulkheads and piers were renovated with a brown polished granite that wraps the building from the southern Woodward facade pier around to the Clifford facade's most western edge.

Constructed at a cost of $145,000 for Jacob Siegel, Detroit's women's clothes mogul, in 1915, the Woodward Building was built as a speculative commercial building. The S. S. Kresge Co., who occupied the first floor, made renovations in 1932. Kartsen's Cafeteria occupied the second floor. In 1948, a permit was issued to renovate the stores into one unit and install a new storefront. A women's wear retailer and a succession of shoe stores were subsequent tenants.

The property was purchased by Bedrock in 2014 and renovated by architecture firm Archive Design Studio in 2016, resulting in offices and street-level retail space.

The Woodward Building is a contributing building in the Lower Woodward Historic District, which also includes the Kresge Building, the Traver Building, the Fowler Building, the Heyn's Department Store Building, the Bedell Building, the Elliot Building, the Valpey Building, the Frank & Seder Building, the Frank & Seder Co. Building (Albert's), the Richman Brothers Co. Store Building, the Grinnell Brothers Music House, the Fisher Arcade, the Himelhoch's Building, the David Whitney Building, the Broderick Tower, the Telenews Theater, the United Foundation Building, the Lane Bryant Building, the A&M Coney Island Building, the Wright-Kay Building, the Kaiser-Blair Building, the Ferguson Building, the D.J. Healy Co. Building, the Beck Building, the Singer Building and the Rayl Building.

Last updated 18/03/2023