Project Description

The Detroit Marine Harbor Terminal was built in 1925 at 4550 West Jefferson, near the intersection of South Clark Street, on the west side of Detroit.  The Detroit Harbor Terminal was located on the Detroit River, just down from the Ambassador Bridge.  The Detroit Harbor Terminal was simple, an ten-story, reinforced-concrete, structure that was designed by noted-Detroit architect, Albert Kahn.  The Detroit Harbor Terminal was built as a storage warehouse for many of the cargo supplies that would be coming up and down the Detroit River, to and from Canada.  Large cargo ships and barges would unload their stock and materials at the dock, which was then stored at the Detroit Harbor Terminal.  To help support the tremendous weight of all of the freight, the floors and columns were made out of reinforced concrete.

The Detroit Harbor Terminal suffered a hit in the early 2000’s when the United States government increased tax and prices on foreign-imported steel products.  The Detroit Harbor Terminal would not survive the price increase, as very little cargo and freight came through the terminal.  The Detroit Harbor Terminal would close for good in 2005.

Many people refer to the Detroit Harbor Terminal as “The Boblo Dock” because of the painted sign on the east side of the building that reads “Boblo Island Detroit Dock.”  However, this building was not the Boblo Island Dock.  That “dock” was located directly next door, right under where the sign is today.  It has been demolished.

In 2008, The Detroit Harbor Terminal was heavily damaged in a two-alarm fire that ripped through the upper floors of the warehouse.  The Detroit Harbor Terminal was left wide-open after the fire and scrappers began to move in.  Scrappers have stripped the building of most of it’s metal and valuables, but the building itself is still structurally sound.

In 2012, the Detroit Harbor Terminal was boarded shut, locked, up, and a new fence was built around the property.  This led many to speculate that there could be a future use for the Detroit Harbor Terminal.  There have been several rumors about redevelopment into retail/office space, residential lofts, and even being used as a terminal again.

As of 2015, the Detroit Harbor Terminal is still abandoned and nothing has happened with the building.