United Sound Sys­tems ought to be the linchpin, the cen­ter­piece of a 21st-​​Century Detroit sound­scape,” said Car­leton Gholz, 37, who founded the Detroit Sound Con­ser­vancy. “It is Exhibit A of Michigan and Detroit’s impact on global sound. It should be alive and cooking.

Pre­serving it is going to take a lot of money and a lot of imag­i­na­tion and a lot of people.”

The Michigan Depart­ment of Trans­porta­tion has pre­lim­i­nary plans to use the land for an off-​​ramp for the widened inter­state. A ser­vice drive would run down Antoinette, the cross street just after the freeway.

But MDOT spokesman Rob Morosi said the plans could change as the project moves forward.

We have not designed this project,” he said. “What we did was a study, jus­ti­fi­ca­tion that this is needed. But we have not com­pleted it. This is the worst-​​case sce­nario. Either we can alter the design of the ser­vice drive, or we could move (the recording studio). We’re not just putting our hands up and saying, ‘It’s got to go.’ ”

Gholz said he learned about a year ago that the building’s land was in the cross hairs of MDOT’s plans to recon­struct the freeway.

The building, which was pur­chased and made into a studio in 1933, doesn’t have a his­tor­ical marker or des­ig­na­tion to pro­tect it. Wood is now cov­ering the win­dows on the front, and it hasn’t been used reg­u­larly for more than a decade.

Gholz said the owners are aware of the his­toric rel­e­vance but seem hes­i­tant to save it. According to prop­erty tax records, the building is owned by Danielle D. Scott. Efforts to reach Scott at her Detroit home were unsuccessful.

Gholz said he has spoken with MDOT rep­re­sen­ta­tives about finding a way to keep the building. He laments what he calls a lack of effort by others to pre­serve Detroit’s musical history.

We’ve got to have an overall plan,” said Gholz, also a post­doc­toral teaching asso­ciate at North­eastern Uni­ver­sity in Boston. “This is Motown. Do we care about the musical his­tory or don’t we?”

Read the article at USA Today →