Wormer and Moore, a Detroit investment firm, occupied offices at the intersection of Griswold and Jefferson during the early years of Detroit's automotive boom. In 1923, they constructed the building you see to serve as their offices. They also rented space in this building to insurance brokers, real estate firms, finance firms and at least one company that manufactured dresses here. After World War II, the building was purchased by the Iodent Chemical Company, a firm that had rented a floor. Iodent used the building for their offices and to manufacture Iodent toothpaste and other toiletries.
By the 1970s, all occupants had moved out, and similar to quite a few other downtown buildings, it was empty and sinking into disrepair. In the early 1970s, city officials announced plans to refurbish the several once-elegant buildings that lined Park Avenue. Those plans, however, came to naught. The refurbishing of the Fox Theater, the construction of two massive new stadia nearby and other downtown developments offered prospects for profits in the renovation of the Iodent Building. In 1997 or 1998, Sean Harrington purchased the structure and set about remodeling it. The first commercial use was the opening of the Centaur Martini Bar at the corner of Park and West Montcalm. Indeed, the most distinctive aspect of this building today is the very large centaur that springs from the structure at the intersection of Park and Montcalm. In Greek mythology, Centaurs were a race of creatures that were part human and part equine. Later, entrepreneur Harrington secured capital to convert the upper stories into condominiums. By 2009, there were eleven condos ranging in size from 700 square feet to 1,500 square feet.
Architect: Unknown to me
Architectural Style: Art Deco elements are visible
Date of Construction: 1923
Date of Renovations: 2007 to 2009
Use in 2009: Restaurant and condominiums
Website for Iodent Lofts: http://www.iodentlofts.com/iodent/Welcome.html
Website for Centaur Martini Bar: http://www.centaurbar.com/
City of Detroit Designated Historic District: Not listed
State of Michigan Registry of Historic Sites: This building is included within the Park Avenue Historic District that includes building on Park from Adams to I-75.
This historic district, P2965, was listed April 18, 1996.
National Registry of Historic Places: The National Park Avenue Historic District encompasses the same area as the State of Michigan Historic District and includes the building you see as well as the Kales Building, the Women's City Club, the Colony Club Building and The Royal Palm Hotel. This historic district was listed May 13, 1997.
Photograph: Ren Farley; March 21, 2009
Description prepared: March 29, 2009
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