The Parade Company announced an update in their efforts to raise $45 million for its stunning new headquarters and Parade Studio with the launch of a new campaign, “Be a Heart of History.” The Be a Heart of History campaign is the next step forward in The Parade Company’s vision of bringing life back to the iconic Brodhead Armory, which will become The Parade Company’s new 160,900 square foot studio, design and operation headquarters. The new headquarters will serve as a community destination for residents and visitors on the beautiful Detroit Riverfront and connect to the national award-winning Detroit Riverwalk.
“Our vision for the new Parade Company headquarters and studio is to create a beautiful, world-class space that is the heart and soul of Detroit,” said Tony Michaels, president & CEO of The Parade Company. “We challenged ourselves to envision a space that re-imagines the Brodhead Armory and connects our near-century of tradition with our future in Detroit as one of the most stunning parade studios in the country.”
The Parade Company’s new home and parade studio will celebrate Detroit, commemorate its history, and partner with the Detroit community in a way that sets the gold standard for opportunity, inclusion, creativity, sustainability and fun. The Parade Company has convened a talented team of architects, designers, and preservationists led by Kraemer Design Group (KDG) committed to rehabilitating this historic Detroit jewel.
Constructed in 1930 at 7600 East Jefferson Avenue, the R. Thornton Brodhead Armory was used as a training facility and site for civic and sporting events until it closed in 2004. It has since remained vacant. World-renowned firm Rossetti created the architectural plans for rehabilitating the 30,600 square foot front portion and the plans to build on an additional 130,300 square foot in the rear building expansion towards the river.
“The scale and heart of this project is for the Detroit community and families,” said Michaels. “Our goal is to become a destination along the Detroit Riverfront near Belle Isle for residents and visitors offering spectacular tours, hosting thousands of children at youth camps, arts programs and educational opportunities, while showcasing our amazing collections of iconic parade floats, Italian papier-mache heads and watching our teams of artisans at work. Our new studio will also be a wonderful event center to host major events with organizations and companies throughout our region and state.”
The legacy of the Brodhead Armory is an essential part of the building and will be integrated into the design. Under the hands-on guidance of Historic Surfaces conservator Anthony Kartsonas, this project will bring a severely deteriorated building back to being a glorious epicenter of artwork and activity through the repair of the collapsed roof and restoration of historical artwork and other salvageable elements. Maintaining the timeless legacy and honor of those who served, the plans also include an office for the Detroit Veterans Coalition where Veterans can gather, host meetings, and plan their events.
“The Metropolitan Detroit Veterans Coalition (MDVC) has been gratified to have Tony Michaels and The Parade Company as an advisor and friend of the Annual Detroit Veterans Day Parade,” stated Jerry Eden, Chair of the Annual Detroit Veterans Day Parade. “And now, with the commitment the Parade Company is making to veterans at the Brodhead Naval Armory project, veteran organizations like ours will always have a place to call home.”
In addition to serving as the headquarters and creative and production space for the award-winning Parade Company team and artists, the new home will be the destination space for youth summer camps, arts programs, STEAM workshops, tours, internships and more. The extensive community based-programming for visitors of all ages is reflective of The Parade Company’s deeply rooted dedication to creating experiences that positively impact children and families by providing enriching experiences and memories to last a lifetime.
“The new home vision creates an exciting opportunity for the future of this storied organization and the important work of bringing the Detroit community together,” said Bob Riney, president & CEO, Henry Ford Heath and Chair of the Michigan Thanksgiving Parade Foundation.
A series of campaign announcements are expected in the coming months.