Shinola Hotel to bring 130 boutique rooms downtown

Ian Thibodeau, and Louis Aguilar

Dan Gilbert’s Bedrock Detroit and Shinola are aiming to fill a gap they see in the boutique hotel market downtown with their newly announced Shinola Hotel.

The 130-room hotel and will be housed in two buildings on the 1400 block of Woodward downtown. The two structures, on the northeast corner of Woodward and Grand River, are owned by entities affiliated with Dan Gilbert’s Bedrock, which own more than 90 downtown properties.

Shinola President Jacques Panis said Bedrock and Shinola are “true partners” in the venture and will have a say in the development and design of the future hotel.

“We are excited to be in such a great historic location,” Panis said.

The companies plan to open the hotel in the fall of 2018.

“We are excited about this venture because it presents a challenging creative exercise to create a boutique hotel concept that Detroit will be proud of,” said Tom Kartsotis, founder of Shinola, in a news release.

Dan Mullen, Bedrock executive vice president, said in a news release. “The Shinola Hotel will be like nothing else in Detroit... ”

“(The hotel) will be strategically located in the now burgeoning shopping district on Woodward Avenue,” he said. “We know out of town visitors will appreciate the central location and unique experience the hotel will offer, while local Detroiters will want to stop in for a dinner or drink while shopping downtown."

The Detroit News confirmed late Tuesday night that the Detroit-based watch and leather goods maker and Bedrock had a hotel in the works.

Earlier this year, Shinola trademarked its brand name for use on a hotel, restaurant and spa, according to public records

A New York-based restaurant firm called NoHo Hospitality Group is also involved in the project, according a NoHo spokeswoman.

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. Carmellini grew up in Ohio, according to the company website. 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.

Christine Gachot, Gachot co-founder, said the firm will activate the street level in the designs.

Most Gilbert buildings along Woodward feature street-level retail, often with living space on the upper floors.

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 and its marketing campaign that touts its Detroit roots. It recently partnered with musician Jack White, who opened a Detroit outpost of Third Man Records, a record and retail store next to the Shinola flagship store at 441 W. Canfield in Midtown. Shinola 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.

Dan 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. The properties range from skyscrapers to parking garages and smaller buildings. He has long talked of creating a technology and entertainment hub in the Motor City.

He owns other ventures from casinos to media publications to the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers.

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Twitter: @Ian_Thibodeau