At 15 stories, the former Detroit Free Press building doesn’t exactly tower over nearby structures, but still retains a certain dignity that modern buildings have lost. Designed by Albert Kahn and built in 1925, the Free Press Building is a monument to the roaring 20’s. From the arch over the entrance to vaulted ceilings inside, the building is chock full of intricate, detailed stonework. The center tower is flanked on both sides by six-storey wings, each with a light well offering daylight to most corners of the building.
Everything that went into creating the paper was carried out under its roof, from the mailers being stuffed into papers to ads being sold to the gigantic printing presses that were housed in the building’s basement. The presses rumbled under its walls until new ones were installed in a building on the Detroit riverfront in 1979. That building was demolished in the summer of 2008. The paper is now printed in the suburb of Sterling Heights.
The building closed in 1998 after the Detroit Free Press moved in with its sister publication, the Detroit News. Various plans to re-develop the site came and went, including a 2010 venture that would have seen the building turned into apartments or condos. In September of 2013, the building sold at auction for $4.025 million, and sold again three years later. The building, which looks like a smaller version of the Kahn-designed Fisher Building, sat vacant until it was bought by Bedrock in 2016 for $8.4 million.
Gilbert’s Bedrock real estate division began renovating the building in 2017. The renamed Press/321 opened to the public in 2020, featuring 105 apartments and a rooftop swimming pool. One of the renovated building’s most stunning features is its seventh-floor rooftop pool with sundeck, lounge seating and built-in grills. The area had previously been where many journalists stepped out for a smoke break. Also of note is a fully automated parking system that parks cars underground.