The Hotel Charlevoix, or the Charlevoix Building, was located in Detroit, Michigan, USA and was abandoned a long time before derelict buildings became a huge problem for the city. Once one of the most prosperous cities in the USA, the centre of the motor industry, Detroit was ravaged by the world financial crises of the late 2000s. Industry ground to a halt, car production slowed significantly and great masses of people lost their jobs. Population decline was sudden and brutal and Detroit became a mere shadow of its glory days.
It wasn’t the first time the economy of Detroit was affected by global conditions. In the 1970s, automobile production was severely curtailed as a result of the oil crises of 1973 and 1979. Thousands of workers lost their jobs and large scale suburbanisation saw many people move from the urban core to the suburbs. It was as a result of this that buildings in Downtown Detroit like the Hotel Charlevoix and Michigan Central Station were abandoned. Once one of the city’s most upscale areas became run down and littered with derelict eyesores.
The Hotel Charlevoix originally opened in 1905 and was one of the oldest hotels in the city. It was originally intended for use as an office building however it spent the first 10 years of its life as a hotel before being converted to an apartment building. In 1922, it was converted again, this time into a commercial property for a number of companies. Over the years, it spent time as a hotel and an office block, sometimes even both at the same time. It was eventually closed in the mid-1980s.
The main staircase of the Hotel Charlevoix was removed following its closure meaning there was little access to the upper floors. In March 2012, bricks fell from the front of the building onto a car and it was decided something needed to be done with what the city deemed an eyesore. The hearing about the demolition of the building was told that the hotel was a target for squatters and urban explorers and sometimes attracted a criminal element. The owner didn’t have the money to do anything with the building so the city was needed to step in. Demolition approval was denied while the owner was given 2 weeks to provide an alternative plan. He came up with the money for demolition and on June 23rd 2013, the Hotel Charlevoix was demolished.