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This dark, abandoned store got Swiss-cheesed into a light-filled office building

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Like thousands of buildings around the world, there was a brick-walled storefront on a major boulevard in Detroit that easily could have been ignored. Wide, squat, and mostly windowless, it had been a meat market, a bait and tackle shop, and a furniture store at various points over the past seven decades. Inside, it was a dark cavernous space, the kind of fluorescent-lit errand store where people went to buy a rack of ribs or a mattress, depending on its goods at the time—and then got out.

Now, an innovative design intervention has filled the space with light. By cutting into the building and adding internal courtyards, this former sad, nondescript space has been transformed into a light and airy, creative office building. It points to a reusable future for dark and unremarkable storefronts, which are ubiquitous in cities.

[Photo: Jeffrey Kilmer/courtesy M1DTW]The building is owned and developed by Prince Concepts (one of Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies in 2022), which is responsible for several other inventive projects in this part of Detroit, including an apartment building made from a Quonset hut. Philip Kafka, founder of Prince Concepts, bought the building in late 2014, after it sat abandoned for years. “It was filled to the ceiling with debris,” says Kafka, “a very standard Detroit condition.”

[Photo: Chris Miele/Prince Concepts/courtesy........

© Fast Company

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