- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 28, 2015

July 28—F is for Fox and for the facelift of a famous facade.

The second “F” of Detroit’s Fox Theatre was fitted into place earlier today — the second F and the final letter in a set of 22-foot boxes that run up the front of the 90-year-old structure. Hooked to a crane and dangling over the closed sidewalk for several minutes, the F box finally was fitted into place just before 9 a.m. It’s all part of the continual thundering of construction along Woodward Avenue as old businesses renovate, new ones move in and the footprint of a new arena district grows more distinct.

How much longer the project will last is unclear. Later this week, the urn will be set back into place, with the theater’s two griffins to follow, said Alex DiFilippo, a spokesman for Olympia Entertainment.

It’s also undetermined whether or what kind of ceremony might accompany a relighting of the facade. Construction barrels and heavy equipment have kinked up motorized and foot traffic along Woodward for several months now. DiFilippo said any relighting event would be worked around Tigers games and work on the M-1 Rail line, which runs this stretch of Woodward.

The Fox sign has been replicated by the Detroit-based Fairmont Sign and updated with brighter paint and state-of-the-art lighting. But it’s the warm glow of real neon by Detroit-based Spectrum Neon Company, some have said, that will protect the aesthetic soul of the structure that began with Vaudeville shows and 35-cent talkies.

In all, 4,831 feet — almost a mile — of new neon glass tubing will electrify the theater. Soon to return as well: The griffins and urn and a reader board listing show times and dates.

Overseen by the Ilitches’ Olympia Development, the arena will be integrated with new M-1 Rail line, Comerica Park across from the Fox, Ford Field, MotorCity Casino Hotel, the Detroit Opera House and other attractions.

Contact Robin Erb: [email protected] 313-222-2708. Follow her on Twitter @Freephealth.

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(c)2015 the Detroit Free Press

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