Board-ups begin on vacant Ilitch buildings in Cass Corridor

Candice Williams
The Detroit News
The Hotel Ansonia is a four-story brick structure built in 1914. It closed in 2006 and was bought by Ilitch Holdings Inc. for Olympia Development in 2016.

A crew began boarding up two vacant apartment buildings owned by the Ilitches on Cass Avenue on Monday, the day the city of Detroit set as a deadline to secure the properties.

The buildings are the former Hotel Ansonia at 2447 Cass and the former Atlanta Apartments at 2467 Cass.

The work comes on the eve of a meeting in which the Detroit City Council will discuss the proposed Cass Henry Historic District, which includes both properties. The apartment buildings are among several properties in the shadow of Little Caesars Arena. A historic district could bring challenges for demolition plans and create specific guidelines for renovations.

The Ilitch family’s Olympia Development of Michigan previously planned to demolish the buildings as well as a third, but withdrew its permit in June 2017, according to the city. The company placed fencing around the buildings, which the city required.

On May 21, the city notified Olympia Development that the buildings were in violation of the city code “which requires that all windows and doors be sealed up to protect the inside of the structure from the elements,” according to Raymond Scott, deputy director of the Detroit Building, Safety Engineering and Environmental Department. The deadline was May 30.

The company was granted the extension, which ended Monday.

“Boarding up began this morning,” said Ed Saenz, spokesman for Olympia Development.  “... We work closely with representatives from the city on a wide range of topics and are responding as required to the notification made for the first time just a few weeks ago.”

City officials said Monday that Olympia Development informed them that the board-up work would be completed by Friday.

Twitter: @CWilliams_DN