S.S. Kresge World Headquarters was built in 1928 and was located at 2727 Second Avenue between Temple Street and Ledyard Street, in Detroit’s notorious Cass Corridor neighborhood, near downtown Detroit. S.S. Kresge was a five and dime retail store that was also known as K-Mart. S.S. Kresge World Headquarters was a large, beautiful building that was designed in Art Deco style by noted-architect Albert Kahn.
The central tower of the S.S. Kresge World Headquarters rose five stories tall, while flanking wings on each side of the tower were only four stories tall. The exterior of the S.S. Kresge World Headquarters featured a limestone columned façade, terra cotta cresting, an all cooper Mansard-style roof. The façade of S.S. Kresge World Headquarters also featured limestone carvings of faces and sculptures of various Gods that line the front of the building’s exterior. The entrance to the building featured an intricate, brass-finished grate that hovers above the main doors, as well as imported marble that was used for the entrance bordering. Above the brass-finished grate and serving as the centerpiece for the marble border, is a large, stone-mason face of Poseidon, the God of the seas. Above the exquisite main entrance, limestone sculptures of other Greek Gods line up along the front of the limestone-faced façade of the S.S. Kresge World Headquarters. Where the central tower begins to rise above the flanked wings between the fourth and fifth floor, ornamented-balconies can also be seen on the front of the building. Finally, just below the building’s cornice, a row of limestone pillars all end with carved faces, each representing a different facial expression. The bottom line is that the exterior of S.S. Kresge World Headquarters was one of Detroit’s most intricate designs, however, the interior of the S.S. Kresge World Headquarters was just as magnificent as the exterior. The main lobby of the S.S. Kresge World Headquarters featured polished-granite floors and bordering for the gorgeous, inlaid-walnut wall paneling. Two twin, granite, brass, and mirrored decorative pieces rest at the both ends of the lobby, while beautiful, brass chandeliers hang from the colorful, hand-panted, barreled-ceiling. Each of the octagon-shaped barrels in the ceiling featured an elaborate floral ornament that served as the centerpiece. Although the lobby was the most prominent design in the interior of the S.S. Kresge World Headquarters, many other extravagant details, furnishings, and fixtures could be found throughout the building. The elevators had brass doors, the hallway had brass clocks and a brass mail chute, the stairway had brass hand-rails, the offices featured brass doorknobs with inlaid-walnut wall paneling, and the laboratory even featured Pewabic-Pottery glazed-tiles. There were simply too many orate and gorgeous details to name them all. S.S. Kresge absolutely loved this building and praised Albert Kahn for his magnificent work.
In 1972, the S.S. Kresge World Headquarters moved their offices to the suburb of Troy, Michigan. By then there were K-Mart stores all over the world. Shortly after the S.S. Kresge World Headquarters moved to Troy, the Detroit Institute of Technology took over the building and continued to run operations out of the building for many years.
In 1998, the Metropolitan Center for High Technology took over the buildings and operated a training center for a number of years.
In 2014, the former S.S. Kresge World Headquarters changed once again. Wayne State University purchased the building and named it “The Block at Cass Park.” The Block at Cass Park serves as a contemporary office and event space for the local business community.
As of 2015, The Block at Cass Park is in full swing. It is still owned and operated by Wayne State University.