Project Description

The Lee Plaza was built in 1929 at 2240 West Grand Boulevard in Detroit, Michigan. The Lee Plaza was named after Ralph T. Lee, who was as real-estate tycoon in Detroit and funded the building for the Lee Plaza. The Lee Plaza was located near Detroit’s midtown neighborhood, which was located outside of downtown Detroit. The Lee Plaza was designed by Charles Noble and the Art-Deco masterpiece rises to over 15 floors. The Lee Plaza was built as an ornate high rise hotel along West Grand Boulevard, but Lee Plaza was more of an upscale, luxury apartment building, with full-hotel services. The Lee Plaza was decorated with sculpture and tile throughout the entire building.

The interior of Lee Plaza was designed by famous Italian-sculptor Corrado Parducci. The first floor was completed with marble, expensive imported wood, and extravagant plaster-work. The lobby, ballroom, dining room, and hallway were Lee Plaza’s pride and joy. The lobby was done in all Italian-architectural style, complete with Italian marble, wrought iron fixtures, and an intricate ceiling. The ballroom had room for about 100 couples to dance the night away under the ballroom’s vaulted ceiling and four crystal chandeliers. The ballroom also was decked out in tall mirrors set in panels along the two side-walls. At one end of the room was a balcony with wrought iron railing that overlooked the beautiful ballroom. Across the hallway from the ballroom was the gorgeous dining room. The dining room was big enough for around 125 people to eat and consisted of walnut-paneled walls. The hallway was known as Peacock Alley, an almost 90-foot corridor leading from the lobby to the back of the building that had a hand-painted arched-ceiling and mirrored-walls. The Lee Plaza was one of Detroit’s most elegant buildings and certainly one of Detroit’s most proud architectural masterpieces.

After Detroit’s population dwindled in the 1970’s, ownership of Lee Plaza changed several times, before finally being used as a senior citizens complex throughout the 1980’s and into the 1990’s. The Lee Plaza closed it’s doors for good in 1997. During its years of vacancy, much of the artwork, internal wiring, fixtures and valuable material has been removed illegally by scavengers. In 2000, some thieves stole the stone lions heads that once surrounded the outside of the Lee Plaza. They later showed up in a building in Chicago, which prompted the FBI to get involved in the heist. Although nobody was ever charged with the theft, the FBI helped Detroit and the Lee Plaza to track down the remained twenty-something lion heads. The lions heads never went back onto the Lee Plaza and supposedly still remain in the hands of the Detroit Housing Commission, who currently own the Lee Plaza.

As of 2015, the Lee Plaza still sits abandoned and wide-open for anyone to enter the one-time luxurious, now sadly decaying building.  There are no current plans for the massive, abandoned, eye sore.

 

The Lee Plaza in 2005-2009:

 

The Lee Plaza in 2010-2011:

 

The Lee Plaza in 2012: