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