Old barn to get new life in Detroit

DETROIT (WXYZ) - An old dairy barn will soon be built in the City of Detroit, but you probably will not find any cows inside the structure.

Scott Lowell and his wife Carolyn Howard own the Traffic Jam & Snug Restaurant in Midtown and the Forest Arm Apartments and moved the barn from Grand Rapids.

“I think just the sheer fact that we’d be building a barn in the city of Detroit.  I gotta believe it’s at least been 100 years since anyone at BS&E has seen anyone proposing this,” said Scott.

Scott showed us the old wood beams and slats underneath a tarp on a gated piece of property where half of the structure is being kept temporarily.

The barn was built in 1888 on property owned by Carolyn’s family, who decided it was time for the beams to come down.  Carolyn wanted to make sure the building could still be put to good use.

“So, I have a chance to bring one down, to save a building and to re-erect down here was a great opportunity,” said Carolyn.  “And it’s still a beautiful structure.  The wood is great and the beams are fantastic.”

Scott will piece the beams back together like a jig-saw puzzle.  The barn will look very similar to the original structure.  The couple doesn’t expect they will make the barn operate as a dairy barn again, but rather another type of Detroit business that everyone can enjoy.

Scott said he also does not expect to turn the barn into a restaurant because they have their hands full with their current restaurant, but he expects the space will be used in another wonderful way.

“If it lends itself to a big communal something and certainly people celebrating and event or an event space, it would be perfect for something like that,” said Scott.

The couple is looking at three pieces of property to build the barn on right now.  Depending on what the zoning is for the property will play into how the barn is utilized within the community.

Scott said they would like to re-build close to their other properties in Midtown.  The three pieces of property being looked at are in Midtown and Corktown.

If all goes according to plan, the couple expects the structure will be re-built and able to open for business within two years.

Print this article Back to Top