Friday, November 30, 2007

Will the Durant be saved?

Plans seem to be in place to redevelop the historic Durant Hotel. The Genesee County Land Bank has purchased the building and is working with developers to complete an interior demolition. The goal is to create housing for students and young professionals. This sounds a little risky, but it makes more sense than AutoWorld. After all, the place has been vacant since 1973, a decaying reminder of everything Flint used to be.

U.S. Congressman Dale Kildee — an Eastsider who graduated from St. Mary's — is even pushing for $150,000 of federal money for the project.

But although preliminary engineering reports indicate the building can be saved, the negotiations could still fall apart with Lansing-based real estate developer Karp & Associates. If that happens, Land Bank Chairman and county Treasurer Dan Kildee has made it clear demolition is still an option.

If you're wondering how the hotel named after GM founder William "Billy" Durant is holding up, check out this YouTube video. Warning: The camerman does NOT have a steady hand, and I got a little car sick watching this, but it gives you an idea why this is expected to be a $23 million job.

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Thanks for commenting. I moderate comments, so it may take a while for your comment to appear. You might enjoy my book about Flint called "Teardown: Memoir of a Vanishing City," a Michigan Notable Book for 2014 and a finalist for the 33rd Annual Northern California Book Award for Creative NonFiction. Filmmaker Michael Moore described Teardown as "a brilliant chronicle of the Mad Maxization of a once-great American city." More information about Teardown is available at