to 1914 the S.S. Kresge Company, the forerunner of
today's Kmart, had its headquarters in a few offices
above their Detroit store. Deciding that a separate
office structure was needed the retailer the services
of famed architect Albert Kahn to design an 18 story
office building on the corner of Adams and Park Streets.
The Grand Circus Park location would put Kresge in
the center of Detroit's new central business district.
created one of Detroit's best early 'skyscraper' office
towers. The new Kresge Building was built according
to the principles of the the Chicago School of Architecture.
The steel frame was expressed by the thin tiers of
white brick. The building was relatively plain
in comparison to other corporate headquarters buildings
such as those of New York. The building's only
decoration were some window frames along the lower
three floors and the upper arched windows. The interiors
reflected the times. The floors were open for development
as the tenant saw fit. Limited artificial lighting
technology required that the entire building have
large windows wrapped around the facade to allow in
the maximum natural light.
Kresge Company only occupied 9 of the 18 floors. The
remaining floor space was leased out to doctors and
dentists. The storefronts included a pharmacy.
In 1930 the Kresge Company built a new headquarters
on Cass Park. This building currently holds the Kresge
name. The old headquarters was renamed the Kales Building
and remained a prime location for medical offices.
As downtown Detroit began its decline in the 70's
the Kales began to lose tenants. The last moved out
in 1986 when utilities were disrupted. The building
failed to gain new tenants and it would remain empty
for nearly two decades.
the mid nineties demolition seemed certain when plans
for new sports stadiums were on the west side of Woodward. The
Kales' land was needed for parking. Thus the property
was acquired by the city. The Kales' future was put
in limbo when the stadium plans shifted to the opposite
side of Woodward. The city, wanting it off their
hands, requested the Greater Downtown Partnership
to try to sell the property to developers. During
the summer of 1999 the GDP held 'request for proposals'
for the Kales and the nearby Statler Hotel. The
hope was to attract bids from developers interested
in redeveloping the building into loft apartments.
This has apparently occurred and the building's future
renovation was formally announced. Initial cleanup
work began in 2000. Financial difficulties halted
progress on the plan. However, work resumed in late
2003. The building opened in 2005.