The David Whitney Building in downtown Detroit — which opened in 1915 and is named after the Detroit lumber baron who built the David Whitney House — gets a facelift and a new hotel name.
Aloft came out. The autograph has arrived, the property owner announced Wednesday.
Both names are part of the Marriott International hotel company’s family of brands, although they didn’t start out that way.
In 2010, Marriott launched Autograph, which was designed to be more luxurious and less of a brand and more of a collection of independent upscale hotels. In 2015, Marriott acquires Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwidewhich included the Aloft brand.
“We concluded that downtown Detroit was ready for the level of service and experience that an Autograph Collection hotel would bring,” said Stacy Fox of the Roxbury Group, adding, “There just isn’t no better place for that to happen than the David Whitney. “
The Roxbury Group, a Detroit-based real estate development company and owner of the building, said it was working with TreeFort Hospitality on the project, which is expected to be completed in phases over the next 12 to 14 months.
Roxbury did not provide any cost projections.
The hotel’s 136 rooms will be renovated and two additional floors will be added for a total of 160 rooms and suites.
Twenty-four of David Whitney’s apartments are set to be converted into one- and two-bedroom hotel suites, leaving 80 residences on the top seven floors.
Both apartments and hotels were popular, the Roxbury Group said. But the hotel expansion was done with Marriott to provide a better “overall mix of rooms given the move to Autograph.”
Whitney is a household name in Michigan. The 19-story Renaissance Revival building is bordered by Park Avenue, Woodward Avenue, and Washington Boulevard.
The David Whitney House, a historic mansion at 4421 Woodward, is now an upscale restaurant. This structure listed on the National Register of Historic Places and the Tiffany glass windows are allegedly worth more than the rest of the house.
Some believe Whitney’s ghost haunts the mansion.
The Roxbury Group is also planning major upgrades to the hotel’s lobby bar, atrium lounge and outdoor seating. Additionally, plans include a restaurant in the Capper & Capper event space at the corner of Woodward and Park.
The Roxbury Group said it was in talks with potential operators for the restaurant and expects to announce plans by the end of the summer.
The David Whitney Building, designed by Chicago architecture firm DH Burnham and Co., was originally a medical practice and retail building.
The building closed in 1999.
The Roxbury Group acquired the property in 2011 and, after a $94 million restoration, reopened it in 2014 as a mixed-use property including the Aloft Hotel. At the time, a long time Free Press writer John Gallagher called it is an “architectural gem”.
Renovations are expected to begin this summer and be completed by the end of 2023.
Free Press business reporter JC Reindl contributed. Contact Frank Witsil: 313-222-5022 or email@example.com.