Book Tower

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Book Tower
Book Tower 2010.jpg
General information
TypeCommercial offices
Location1265 Washington Boulevard
Detroit, Michigan
Coordinates42°20′00″N 83°03′06″W / 42.3334°N 83.0517°W / 42.3334; -83.0517Coordinates: 42°20′00″N 83°03′06″W / 42.3334°N 83.0517°W / 42.3334; -83.0517
Construction started1916
Roof144.78 m (475.0 ft)
Technical details
Floor count38
2 below ground
Floor area118,571 m2 (1,276,290 sq ft)
Design and construction
ArchitectLouis Kamper
Main contractorStarrett-Dilks Company
Renovating team
Renovating firmKey Investments Group
Book Tower
Architectural styleNeo-Classical and
Part ofWashington Boulevard Historic District (#82002914)
Designated CPJuly 15, 1982

The Book Tower is a 145 m (476 ft), 38-story skyscraper located at 1265 Washington Boulevard in Downtown Detroit, Michigan, within the Washington Boulevard Historic District. Construction began on the Italian Renaissance-style building in 1916 as an addition to the original Book Building, and finished a decade later. Designed in the Academic Classicism style, in addition to the 38 rentable floors, it has two basement levels and two mechanical floors beneath the green copper roof, a roofing style shared by the nearby Westin Book Cadillac Hotel. Retail and gallery floors used to reside on the first and second floors, with businesses previously occupying the rest. The building is currently unoccupied but is under renovation by Bedrock Real Estate Services and is planned to open again.


Named after the famous Book Brothers of Detroit, it was briefly the tallest building in the city until the completion of the Penobscot Building in 1928. A taller Book Tower of 81 stories was to be built at the opposite end of the Book Building, but the Great Depression cancelled those plans.[5] The building contains a cartouche by the Detroit architectural sculptor Corrado Parducci.[citation needed]

From its opening through the mid-1970s the Book Tower remained a prestigious address on Washington Boulevard. Like many structures in the city, its fortunes declined until 1988 when the owners defaulted on the mortgage. In 1989, Travelers Insurance, the principal mortgage-holder, took possession and sold the building to developer John Lambrecht who previously purchased and renovated the Cadillac Tower a few blocks east. Lambrecht had similar plans for the Book Building and Tower; however, his untimely death later that year brought things to a halt.[6]

Lambrecht's widow attempted to manage the property and made some improvements, but she was unable to maintain momentum. On July 25, 2006, she sold the Book Tower to the Pagan Organization, a New York-based investment group. Pagan's early plans call for a renovation and conversion of both the Book Tower and Book building into a mix of retail, residential, and office units. The Pagan Organization created the Northeast Commercial Services Corp. to manage the building. Northeast Commercial Services Corp. filed for Chapter 11 protection Wednesday, May 24, 2007, after defaulting on its mortgage loan. The last tenant, Bookie's Tavern, closed its doors January 5, 2009, and moved to a new location downtown.[7]

In November 2009, Key Investment Group of Clinton Township, Michigan announced intentions to buy and renovate the building as a mixed-use development with high rise residential units, office space, and retail. Weeks earlier, the investors revealed that they were looking to purchase the building from AKNO Enterprises of Vancouver for a green renovation.[8] In January 2010, Rosemarie Dobek, CFO of Key Investment Group, reported that the group is pursuing plans for a US$320 million green renovation to include the Book Tower and four other Detroit buildings.[9][10]

In August 2013, Book Tower owner ANKO Enterprises of Vancouver, British Columbia, filed a tax abatement for a future renovation of the building; however, specific plans have not yet been disclosed.[11]

On August 28, 2015, Bedrock Real Estate, owned by Dan Gilbert, announced it would purchase the three-building Book complex, including the Book Tower. The purchase price was reported to be about $30 million.[12]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Book Tower". CTBUH Skyscraper Database.
  2. ^ Book Tower at Emporis
  3. ^ "Book Tower". SkyscraperPage.
  4. ^ Book Tower at Structurae
  5. ^ "Unbuilt Detroit". Critical Detroit. 3 October 2008.
  6. ^ "Book Tower and Book Building". Buildings of Detroit. Archived from the original on January 3, 2011. Retrieved 2011-04-12.
  7. ^ "Book Building". Detroit1701/org. 17 January 2009. Retrieved 2011-04-12.
  8. ^ Duggan, Daniel (6 November 2009). "New Book for an old chapter". Crain's Detroit Business. Retrieved 2010-11-20.
  9. ^ Kavanaugh, Kelli B. (3 November 2009). "Book Building and Tower to be brought back to life". Model D. Retrieved 2010-11-20.
  10. ^ "New Hope for the Book Tower". Critical Detroit. 20 January 2010. Retrieved 2014-04-11.
  11. ^ Cox, Sarah (August 5, 2013). "Evidence Suggests That Book Tower Might, Finally, Renovate". Curbed Detroit. Retrieved 2014-04-11.
  12. ^ Austin, Dan (29 August 2015). "Dan Gilbert buys Detroit's Book Tower skyscraper". Detroit Free Press.

Further reading[edit]

  • Hill, Eric J. & John Gallagher (2002). AIA Detroit: The American Institute of Architects Guide to Detroit Architecture. Wayne State University Press. ISBN 0-8143-3120-3.
  • Kvaran, Einar Einarsson, Architectural Sculpture of America, unpublished manuscript
  • Meyer, Katherine Mattingly & Martin C.P. McElroy (1980). Detroit Architecture A.I.A. Guide. Introduction by W. Hawkins Ferry, Hon A.I.A. (Revised ed.). Wayne State University Press. ISBN 0-8143-1651-4.
  • Sharoff, Robert (2005). American City: Detroit Architecture. Wayne State University Press. ISBN 0-8143-3270-6.
  • Savage, Rebecca Binno & Greg Kowalski (2004). Art Deco in Detroit (Images of America). Arcadia. ISBN 0-7385-3228-2.

External links[edit]