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drawing of the bus depot sign, Ann Arbor, 2012

Neon revival

Restoring the bus depot facade

by Grace Shackman

From the December, 2012 issue

For years people walking by the Ann Arbor Bus Depot on West Huron shook their heads at its sad state of decay. Out-of-towners often thought it was no longer in use, while many townies assumed that the owner, Bill Martin, was too busy being U-M athletic director to worry about it. But over the last few months it has quietly undergone a $35,000 restoration bringing it back to its full Art Moderne glory. The marble and limestone facade has been cleaned and repointed, and the stainless steel on the sign and canopy cleaned. The lettering on the canopy and the background of the vertical sign has been painted, and the blue neon lettering repaired or replaced.

According to First Martin Corporation spokesman Bob Gates, the company bought the station about twenty years ago, along with the former gas station next door, now the Convention and Visitors Bureau, thinking they would eventually develop the property. Meanwhile they rented it to Greyhound, which was originally responsible for outside maintenance. A few years ago First Martin changed the lease to give the company responsibility for the facade, laying the groundwork for the restoration.

"Redeveloping the sites is still our long-term goal," says Gates. "We'd like to preserve the facade. The current [bus station] entrance will be the new [building] entrance."    (end of article)

[Originally published in December, 2012.]


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