The David Whitney Building played host on Friday to a party put on by Model D Media and the Roxbury Group showcasing the revitalization of Detroit. Perhaps the biggest story, however, is the Whitney itself; this summer, Whitney Partners LLC, a partnership between Roxbury and Trans Inn Management announced their intention to renovate the building and to a boutique hotel and apartments, according to Crain’s Detroit Business. The building will join the Broderick Tower, currently under renovation, as the newest additions to Grand Circus Park’s already successful revitalization.
Model D reports that developers are working to secure funding for the project, which it says will cost $82 million and include a coffee shop, bar, restaurants, and retail along with the hotel and apartments. The project is slated to being next year and be finished as early as 2013. Developers are modeling the project after the successful Westin Book-Cadillac and Doubletree Fort Shelby, according to Crain’s. However, instead of the modern look of the Book, James Van Dyke, Vice President of development for Roxbury, says that much of the Whitney’s interior remains intact, and they intend on incorporating the historic building’s original designs into the renovation for a historic feel. The building’s famous four-story rotunda will be the focal point of the renovation and will house the new retail and public areas. Rumors have swirled about what hotel chain will move into the renovated Whitney Building, with Starwood’s W Hotels being most popular, but developers have yet to announce which one it will be.
The Whitney will join the Broderick Tower as the newest renovations surrounding Grand Circus Park. The long abandoned skyscraper has been the subject of frequent redevelopment rumors, and was a popular sight for fans at Comerica Park for its giant whale mural, until it was covered with advertisements several years ago. The 34-story building is being renovated by Motown Construction Partners, and will contain 127 apartments, 34 “Sky Top Penthouses”, offices for Invest Detroit, and a restaurant and lounge in its historic lobby, according to Crain’s Detroit Business. Construction is expected to be completed in September 2012 and has progressed steadily; windows were recently installed on the building’s bottom floors.
The addition of the Whitney and Broderick will bring back two of Detroit’s most visible, iconic buildings and highlight Grand Circus Park’s role in the redevelopment of the city. The building’s will join the Kales building, one of the park’s most popular residential buildings, and establishments such as Cheli’s Chili to make Grand Circus the new residential hub in Detroit. They will also provide an anchor for Woodward’s redevelopment between Campus Martias and Grand Circus Park’s, giving the strip a much-needed boost in traffic and publicity. Perhaps the most exciting aspect of the two historic building’s renovations, however, is how serious real estate developers are about Detroit’s renaissance. Developer Fred Beal of JC Beal Construction told Model D that there is “pent-up demand” in downtown’s rental market and expressed excitement about the idea of Grand Circus becoming Detroit’s new entertainment district.
Whether it’s the proposal of a new sports and entertainment district at the base of Woodward or love for the history of The Whitney Building and Broderick Tower, all Detroiters can agree that having these two icon’s back to their former glory helps solidify Detroit’s comeback as the real deal.