Then they are using the wrong technology.
They should have cold temperature relief valves, and use PEX piping, so that it can freeze without damage. The building itself should be equipped with an excessive flow shut-off valve, such as the Dorot 100FE (which is an entirely mechanical design, mediated by water pressure differential over time).
Then they could leave the water on, and not have a problem.
BTW: if they had excessive flow shut-off valves throughout the system, the broken water lines would never have risen to the level of a problem in the first place; the first they would have heard about it would have been complaints of not water.
The reason that a fire hydrant doesn't freeze is that there's no water in it; it's called an "anti-siphon valve" and it's located below the frost line. When water is shut off, the valve drains the water out of the plug; the same thing should be employed in structures so that when the excessive flow cut-off triggers, the water drains out of the system, and it's protected against freezing.
You could literally abandon a properly equipped building for yeas, it'd get close to the freeze point, and the entire plumbing system would protect itself.
Such systems are common in areas where a power failure could result in a loss of heating; I've seen them used in Utah, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, Minnesota, and Wisconsin (among others) for apartment complexes and horse stables. You'd think that Detroit, having so many mechanical engineers at one point, would have adopted this into their building code already.