A search of Detroit city records suggests that the old Hotel Melrose is located at 87 E. Canfield. But we can’t bet our A.S.S. on it, because the Midtown area husk has no visible address. It sits, like a lonely debutante, invisible to the nonstop activity on Woodward and John R., the avenues that sandwich it.
The Melrose has been empty for a long time. It’s a four-story relic that still shows traces of its old beauty. It’s also got its share of scars.
Vacant for at least 20 years, it was once known as the Carver, in its heyday, a typical Woodward gem that beckoned passersby and loiterers to stand in front, hang out, look cool. Obviously, previous owners failed to keep the building fashionable, and it began a long descent into decay during the 1970s.
Fortunately, the first floor is closed to trespassers. That the boards covering the ground-level entrances are painted to match the building’s brown brick exterior, however, is laughable. The upper floors are considerably less secure. All but three of the building’s front windows are broken. On one side, trees have grown tall and have gone without manicuring for way too long; they almost block the hotel’s name, which is displayed on its profile.
No matter. The painted name is fading.
The Melrose is a stark reminder that the Midtown revival has a long way to go, and the hotel may not be around when the restoration is completed. The city has scheduled demolition, and is just waiting for a demo contract to be assigned.
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