May 9, 2023 - Real Estate

New life for historic Cadieux Stage building on Detroit's east side

Aretha Franklin (left) and Grand Funk Railroad, each at Cadieux Stage on Detroit's east side. Historical photos courtesy of Cadieux Stage

An east side studio with a retro vibe and a storied history just got a facelift.

Why it matters: Built in 1937, Cadieux Stage saw famous traffic in the past. The 20,000-square-foot building has hosted Aretha Franklin shooting a music video with a youth choir, Bob Seger practices and a Grand Funk Railroad performance, Chris Lee, who is nearly done renovating the building, tells Axios.

  • Now, after noticing a local demand for arts space, Lee is looking to fill the building with creatives again.

State of play: Lee, who grew up in Detroit and previously restored his great-grandparents' house near Boston-Edison, wanted a historic real estate project.

  • He bought the building at 4925 Cadieux Road last year from local photographer Jerry Farber.
The green room has a pool table and unique wallpaper.
The green room in the renovated Cadieux Stage building at 4925 Cadieux Road. Photo: Courtesy of Cadieux Stage

Flashback: Cadieux Stage originally housed Wilding Studios, a commercial filmmaking company, per Lee, who has a collection of old photos showing celebrities using the space — including Franklin.

  • Farber then refurbished and reopened the building in the early '90s, per Free Press archives. The paper dubbed it the "city's oldest existing sound stage."

Details: The space is now set up for things like film production, photography, music videos and events, with two sound stages and a green room, as well as dressing rooms, offices and photo studios.

  • Tenants so far include Aliado Studio, a marketing agency.

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