Work starts Tuesday on Shinola Hotel downtown

Ian Thibodeau
The Detroit News

Detroit — Dan Gilbert’s Bedrock and Detroit-based watchmaker Shinola will officially break ground on the planned 130-room Shinola Hotel downtown on Tuesday.

The luxury boutique hotel will open in the fall of 2018. It is one of several hotels planned for downtown Detroit in coming years.

Project plans call for buildings at 1400 and 1416 Woodward to be remodeled. Three other buildings on the block of Woodward between Grand River and John R will be demolished to make way for new buildings.

Those will be the first demolitions on lower Woodward in decades.

Once complete, the space created by the new construction and rehabbed buildings will be connected from within.

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.

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.

Twitter: @Ian_Thibodeau