Dan Gilbert’s Bedrock Detroit and Shinola will raze three buildings on Woodward to make way for their 130-room Shinola Hotel.

The mid-rise building at 1424 Woodward, which houses the Jazz Convenience Store, as well as buildings at 1420 and 1412 Woodward – now vacant – will be demolished. Adjoining vacant buildings 1416 and 1400 Woodward will be remodeled for the boutique hotel slated to open in two years, with new hotel construction connecting the open spaces.

The three buildings will be the first major structures to be demolished on Woodward downtown since 1998, when the J.L. Hudson building was imploded just across Grand River from the planned hotel.

The Detroit Historic District Commission, an entity that oversees construction and redevelopment in historic neighborhoods and on historic buildings, on Wednesday OK’d the demolition and redevelopment of the cluster of buildings. Bedrock owns all of the buildings.

Whitney Eichinger, Bedrock spokeswoman, said Thursday the commission’s approval meant the companies could move forward with the project. The demolitions are the first step, she said. There will be other approvals as the construction process moves along.

The buildings will be demolished in the “next several months,” Eichinger said.

The Lower Woodward Avenue Historic District report, which details the historical significance of 34 buildings commercial buildings on Woodward roughly between Grand Circus Park and State Street, considers the three buildings to be demolished as “non-contributing” buildings. Non-contributing buildings do not greatly impact the historical integrity of a district, according to guidelines.

The companies plan to open the hotel in the fall of 2018. Eichinger said once complete, the space created by the new construction and rehabbed buildings will be connected from within. There were no updated renderings of the hotel available Thursday.

News broke of the hotel in September. A New York-based restaurant firm called NoHo Hospitality Group is also involved in the project. NoHo Hospitality Group represents several restaurants and eateries in New York City and Miami that are led by James Beard Award-winning chef Andrew Carmellini. Restaurants in the NoHo collection range from casual Italian to a bar with “American bites” to a French brasserie.

New York-based Gachot Studios will design the hotel. Detroit-based Kraemer Design Group is the architect of record on the project.

A ground-floor restaurant and possibly retail space is expected. Most Gilbert buildings along Woodward feature street-level retail.

Sam Naim, part-owner of the Jazz Convenience Store, said Thursday morning that Bedrock had previously told him and his business partner that the fate of their building hadn’t been decided, as there were several possible construction plans circulating when the hotel was announced. A Bedrock official visited the store Thursday afternoon, Naim later said, and told him the building would be razed.

Their lease in the building is good for another six years, Naim said, but Bedrock told him they would help him relocate.

The 1400 block of Woodward is the heart of what Bedrock aims to transform into a major retail center. One block away is the empty block-long site of the former J.L. Hudson department store. It’s a location at which Gilbert has said he wants to “make an iconic statement.”

Early designs released last year for the Hudson’s site show a swooping glass-and-metal structure that looks like nothing in Detroit now. The space will have 250 residential units, 225,000 square feet of mixed-use commercial or retail space, as well as a “programmed civic space,” according to public records.

Shinola is a Detroit company known mainly for its expensive watches, bicycles and leather items. Its marketing campaign touts Shinola’s Detroit roots. Executives have said in previous interviews that the company always intended to be about “good design” and have a number of different ventures.

Shinola, founded in 2011, has stores in Detroit, Los Angeles, London, Washington, D.C., and other major cities. The company’s manufacturing arm is based in the College for Creative Studies in Midtown.

Gilbert is a major force in downtown Detroit. Entities connected to Gilbert and his Bedrock real estate have invested $2.2 billion since 2010 in buying and renovating more than 90 Detroit properties mainly in the city’s downtown.


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Twitter: @Ian_Thibodeau

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