(07/19/12) - Downtown Saginaw will have a new look very soon.
Two buildings across the street from the Dow Event Center will soon be demolished. It will mean more parking for people visiting the downtown area.
One of the buildings should be gone soon. Demolition is scheduled to begin on the old Saginaw Plaza Hotel next week.
Everything is in place for the demolition of the eight story, 177 room Saginaw Plaza Hotel. Built in 1979, the hotel struggled to stay open in recent years.
"It changed owners several times and just never seemed like it could get up and running," said Matt Blasy general manager of the Dow Event Center.
A Sprint cell phone system had to be removed from the top of the building, but it's now gone, and demolition is expected to start Monday. Also slated to be demolished is the building next to it, the Saginaw Centre, which opened in 1972 as a mall. The Saginaw County Land Bank Authority now plans on putting parking lots at both locations.
"It's going to open up the downtown area," Blasy said.
The Dow Event Center is home to the Saginaw Spirit hockey team and host to other events.
"More parking close to the Dow is a positive and also we have an opportunity in the summer to try and create some outdoor events in this area too," Blasy said.
While the hotel is vacant, the Saginaw Centre is not.
Henry Bell owns Blue's Hair Cafe' inside the Saginaw Centre building and has been told he needs to be out of this location by September.
"I've been looking around, trying to find something, but there is nothing compatible because everything here goes with me," Bell said.
Others are happy to see more parking around the event center.
Mark Adams is with the Jehovah's Witnesses. The group is in town for its convention, bringing 15,000 people to the area. They have held the three-weekend convention in Saginaw for seven years now, and the added parking could mean they will come back for an eighth year and more.
"Parking is always a concern," Adams said. "By having parking close to the convention site, it makes it very appealing to us."
The Saginaw Farmer's Market is looking at the possibility of moving to that new open space across from the Dow Event Center.
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