Demolition begins on former Boblo Island boat dock

The building is being torn down as part of Detroit’s blight removal campaign.

Former Boblo Island boat dock.

A photo of the Detroit Terminal, or the Boblo Boat Dock, as it stands on April 20, 2023.

A building in Southwest Detroit where passengers used to board steamships to an amusement park on Boblo Island is being demolished. The Detroit Harbor Terminals building is more commonly known as the “Boblo Boat Dock.”

It’s operated and managed by the Ambassador Port Company, in accordance with a special agreement. The structure is being torn down as part of the city of Detroit’s blight removal campaign.

“Crown Enterprises, LLC, a Moroun Family Company, is in the process of demolishing the Detroit Harbor Terminal Building (also known as the ‘Boblo Building’ due to a vintage advertisement on the exterior). Crown worked closely with the city [of Detroit] to ensure all necessary permits were obtained before beginning the demolition process,” a spokesperson for the Ambassador Port Company tells WDET. “The 900,000 sq. ft. 10-story building was built in 1926 and used as a terminal warehouse for storage, but has been vacant for decades and is now on the list of the city of Detroit’s top blighted structures. At over $3 million, this demolition is one of the largest privately funded blight removal efforts in the city.”

Read: What is on Boblo Island today? And what happened to the Boblo boats?

Dan Austin, operator of that documents Detroit’s historic buildings and landmarks, says the Boblo Building is the last piece of physical history of Boblo Island.

“Other than the burned-out hull of the steamer Sainte Claire, this is really the last physical reminder of Boblo in Detroit proper,” says Austin. “This is the last piece.”

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  • Laura Herberg
    Laura Herberg is a Reporter for 101.9 WDET, telling the stories about people inhabiting the Detroit region and the issues that affect us here.