I-94 expansion draws sour note from fans of historic recording studio
8:28 PM, Jul 3, 2013
DETROIT (WXYZ) - As MDOT prepares to pave the way for expansion, a piece of Detroit's musical history might find itself in the path of a bulldozer, and it has fans of the United Sound Systems recording studio singing a sour note.
The studio didn't just provide the soundtrack to Willie Ford's life. It's a piece of Motor City music history, and Ford's 70's soul group The Dramatics help piece it together.
"36 top ten hits." recalls Ford, "And I came down just to take a look at United Sound Systems and where we recorded."
United Sound Systems became Detroit's first major recording studio in 1933, paving the way for the Motown sound. But as time erodes its once musical walls, sound from a roaring neighbor may bring the building down completely.
I-94 is set to expand add a lane to both sides. The old recording studio lands right within the footprint of a proposed service drive. MDOT says only the building's owner holds the studio's fate.
"Fundamentally no matter how people want to save this, if MDOT wants to save this, move this building, or retrofit a service drive around it, first and foremost, we need to talk to the business owner." said MDOT spokesperson Rob Morosi, who says MDOT is in the process of reaching out the building owner.
"It felt like home." said Ford, "I'm sorry, if they tear it down. I'll be sorry to see it go."
MDOT says the project start time is more than year away, and a lot can happen before the project begins. Ford just wanted to make sure to visit an old friend before it's too late. And like a good love song, just a few bars bring old feelings right back. Which is why Ford is taking photos with the building while singing songs that put his group on the pop charts.