Detroit’s Ford Auditorium Still Here

The Detroit City Council has delayed a vote to raze the 56-year-old Ford Auditorium over concerns the property will remain vacant.

Mayor Dave Bing wants to demolish the building, which once housed the Detroit Symphony Orchestra but has been vacant since 1989, and replace it with a 5,000-capacity amphitheatre. He has the blessing of the Ford family, which funded the construction of the venue.

However, City Council members questioned the razing March 9 and sent a $754,000 demolition contract to a committee to review it, according to the Detroit News. The concerns involve two other properties – Tiger Stadium and Hudson’s department store – which were demolished under the pretense of urban growth but the real estate remains unused.

Ford Auditorium, on the other hand, has been suggested as a home for a bank, a gospel hall of fame and an aquarium but none came to fruition, according to the News. Meanwhile its ground is arguably enticing.

“Ford Auditorium rests on a prime piece of real estate on the riverfront,” Bing told the paper. “I encourage council to allow the demolition process to move forward so that this land can be returned to productive use.”

The city council was expected to readdress the issue in the near future.

The auditorium has its share of historical moments, including Malcolm X’s last public address outside of New York.