David Whitney Building

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide debuts its Aloft brand in Detroit in Michigan, US, with a hotel in the historic David Whitney Building in Grand Circus Park.

As part of the 19-storey building’s $82m renovation project, the Aloft Detroit will occupy the lower ten floors of the building, while 108 residential units are planned for the top nine floors.

Trans Inns will develop the building in a joint venture, Whitney Partners, with The Roxbury Group, a Detroit-based development firm.

The boutique hotel chain brand is planning 136 loft-like rooms, similar to Starwood’s W brand hotels, and the property will also include a 24 hour fitness centre, banquet space, high-speed internet, industrial design elements, a bar and the ‘re:mix’ lounge.

Roxbury Group principal David DiRita said if other financing falls into place then construction could begin in the first half of 2012, with the reopening of the building sometime in late 2013 or 2014.

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While the Roxbury Group has agreed to oversee development of the residential component in the building as well as a retail development, developers are seeking brownfield tax credits to finance the project.

Starwood has opened more than 55 Aloft hotels in the past three years.

Built in 1915, the David Whitney Building was designed by the Chicago firm of architect David Burnham and named after lumber baron David Whitney.

The tower, which has been vacant for more than a decade, is notable for its courtyard atrium on the interior and a sweeping four-storey lobby with white terracotta columns, a marble floor and a glass atrium.

Aloft Detroit will seek LEED certification from the US Green Building Council for what would become the brand’s second adaptive reuse project in the US.


Caption: The reopening of the David Whitney Building is expected in late 2013 or 2014. Image courtesy of Michael Russell.