A group of investors say they have made a $1.5 million offer to buy a piece of city-owned land near downtown’s Grand Circus Park to build a 118-room boutique hotel, a 700-space parking garage and a high-rise residential complex.
The proposed hotel would be part of the “Joie de Vivre” brand of San Francisco-based Commune Hotels and Resorts. The empty land is the site of former Statler Hotel, which was demolished in 2005, on Washington Boulevard across from Grand Circus Park.
The vacant site is part of the 45-block entertainment district that will be anchored by the new home arena for the Detroit Red Wings.
The investment group made the formal offer to the city and to the Detroit Economic Growth Corp. last week after years of discussions. It’s too soon in the process to declare the project’s fate. Officials didn’t comment on the proposal Thursday. But it is a sign that a rebounding downtown continues to attract ambitious plans.
“We hope this energizes immediate meetings, because we are ready,” said Derek Brown, one of the investors. Brown is founder and president of Detroit-based Quorom Commercial development firm.
Other developers on the project are William McCrary, also based in Detroit, and James Miller, owner of Detroit’s Miller Parking Services. They have formed the Downtown Detroit Executive Hotel Complex LLC for the project, which they have named the Fitzgerald Place complex.
“We’ve been working on this plan for four years and we are excited to see that investors are looking at Detroit as a good opportunity,” said McCrary. He added the group has introduced the idea to City Council as well.
The investors say they have gained exclusive rights to the Detroit market of the Commune hotel brands. Commune is owned by Hyatt family billionaire John A. Pritzker.
Downtown is experiencing a hotel boom with at least two new hotels already planned downtown, including the boutique hotel Aloft in Grand Circus Park.
The planned 45-block entertainment district generally reaches from Grand Circus Park to Charlotte in the Cass Corridor neighborhood, and between Woodward and Grand River avenues. In addition to the $450 million new home ice for the Wings on Woodward, the district is expected to bring another $200 million of new housing, bars, restaurants, parking garages and maybe a hotel. The locations and details of who will build all that new development hasn’t been announced.
One result has been a a rush on properties in the area , particularly in Cass Corridor, where buyers have been scarce for decades. Recently, garages, former flop houses and crumbling buildings have netted seven-figure offers from unidentified buyers, according to developers. Few of the prices are publicly recorded.
The 650,000-square-foot, 18,000-seat multipurpose arena is slated to be built on a patch of Woodward about four blocks north of the Fox Theatre and Comerica Park.