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Drivers along Atwater Street between Rivard and St. Aubin will see the ruins of Ambassador Steel and Shipping, a collection of buildings that looks more like the aftermath of an air raid than a piece of well-preserved history. ASS paid a visit in December 2002 and reported that the land was purchased by the city during Mayor Dennis Archer’s administration, intended as part of the now-defunct riverfront casino project.

But there’s new life along this stretch of the riverfront. Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and Gov. Jennifer Granholm will be among those celebrating the opening of Tri-State Centennial Park and Harbor on May 20.

“I hope the new park will bring some life to the building and surrounding areas,” says Robert Douglas, project manager for KEO & Associates, the construction company currently revamping the marina for the opening.

While restoration may be possible for some buildings in this area, Ambassador Steel complex will most likely be no more. Officials at the Detroit Economic Growth Corp. (DEGC) say the city intends to put the building on the demolition list.

The fate of the Globe Trading Co., where Henry Ford had his first job, may
be different.

“It’s hoped that a developer may be found for the Globe, but it is still in the examination process by the city to see what may be done with it,” says Will Tammanga, project manager for DEGC.

Tammanga says the city is not ready to reveal exactly what it plans to do with the 40 acres — and many vacant buildings — it owns, but mentions that it will be a blend of “private developers and public projects. … The city is evaluating the buildings that remain. The ones that are dangerous or unable to be rehabilitated will be torn down.”

Gina Pasfield is a Metro Times editorial intern. E-mail [email protected]
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