First Independence Bank

First Independence Bank
Detroit, MI

Roof and Facade Improvements

In preparation for the 2006 Superbowl, the City of Detroit's Downtown Development Authority offered funding grants for facade improvements to buildings located in the downtown area. With numerous elements of the building in need of repair and displeased with the current building aesthetic, FIB chose to utilize this funding to offset the cost of improving the building envelope and upgrading the exterior aesthetic. WJE was retained by FIB to provide design, structural, architectural and construction administration services for the work.


The First Independence Bank (FIB) building, originally known as the Manufacturer's Bank building, was constructed in the early 20th century, was eight stories tall, and was clad with ornate stone and masonry. Subsequent renovations, reportedly in the 1930s and 1960s, reduced the building height to two stories and replaced the masonry facade. The resulting bank exterior is clad with a slender precast concrete arching panel system and an aluminum clad curtain wall glazing system.


A thorough building envelope investigation was performed to identify and prioritize the deficient conditions. The final scope of work included full roofing system, curtain wall, parapet and signage replacement; facade cleaning; new exterior lighting and ATM integration; new building entrance articulation; and a new suspended sun screen to accentuate the public entrance. WJE's conceptual design services included color rendered character vignettes and detailed cost estimates prepared to illustrate various options for the improvements. Drawings and specifications were developed to document the envelope performance and aesthetic improvements, and expedited bidding negotiations, construction period services, and construction quality assurance measures were provided throughout the duration of the project.