Restoring a faded palace

Scenes from a city, beginning anew

Workers braved the snow and cold Wednesday at The Forest Arms apartments south of Wayne State University as its $10 million renovation continues. Move-in for new residents is about a year away, said Scott Lowell, who owns the building with his wife, Carolyn Howard. The four-story structure, at W. Forest and Second, suffered heavy damage in a 2008 fire, but Lowell and Howard – who own the nearby Traffic Jam restaurant – are using the rehab to modernize the building, which is 109 years old and looks it: There are arched brick window frames, remnants of dumb waiters and decorative nymphs surrounding the entrance. When the building opened in 1905, its well-heeled tenants had fireplaces and large spaces, which were later subdivided. By the 1970s, the mainly student clientele was watched over by an elderly manager who walked the pot-scented hallways, rattling her keys.

Rents are not yet set for the new Forest Arms, which will have 70 mainly one-bedroom units, and will include five penthouse apartments and a roof deck; geothermal wells; a 20,000 gallon tank whose water will flush toilets, as well as retail outlets. Lowell said there will also be a soundproof room in the new basement that can be used for band practice, or for “someone who wants to just come down and scream.” – Bill McGraw

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Ed Rennell
Thu, 11/20/2014 - 9:43am
Hmmm...the 20,000 water tank will flush retail outlets...hope they have flood insurance!
Thu, 11/20/2014 - 11:08am
Where's an Oxford comma when you need one?
David Zeman
Thu, 11/20/2014 - 2:31pm
Ed and Marc, I'm glad you noticed this before my mother, the retired English teacher, saw it. Thanks for the heads up, sorry for the careless editing. That's on me, not the writer. Best, David Zeman Editor Bridge
Fri, 11/21/2014 - 11:30am
went to several very fun parties here in the 70's
Paul G Thomas
Sat, 12/13/2014 - 12:30pm
I hope they bring back the Ho Ho Inn in the new basement!