Westin Book Cadillac hotel sold, to be renovated

Breana Noble
The Detroit News

A Chicago developer said Friday it had acquired downtown Detroit's Westin Book Cadillac, once the tallest hotel in the world, with plans to renovate the 97-year-old building over the next two years.

Chicago's Oxford Capital Group LLC, under the name Book Cadillac Detroit Propco LLC, acquired the 453-room hotel at 1114 Washington Blvd. in partnership with New York City investment firm Taconic Capital Advisors LP, according to a news release. The Marriott International Inc. hotel, which was facing foreclosure earlier this year, will remain open while being renovated.

The Westin Book Cadillac Hotel in Detroit.

A tax incentive request filed with the city of Detroit in September said the new owners plan to spend $16 million to renovate the skyscraper. The renovation includes a comprehensive refresh of the guest rooms, public space, lobby, meeting rooms and ballrooms, according to the news release.

“The Book Cadillac is arguably Detroit’s most iconic hotel asset," John W. Rutledge, CEO of Oxford and its Oxford Hotels & Resorts LLC subsidiary, said in a statement. "We are excited to announce this acquisition and look forward to strategically upgrading and refreshing the property so that it remains a market leader in downtown Detroit as the city and the nation continue their post-COVID recovery trajectory."

The purchase negotiations with the Cleveland-based Ferchill Group resulted in the buyers assuming the building's commercial mortgage-backed security loan, according to the incentive request. Ferchill owed $77 million and faced foreclosure for being delinquent on the loan since May 2020, according to commercial real estate research firm Trepp LLC.

As of June, though, the loan was no longer in foreclosure, instead showing as 90-plus days delinquent, according to Trepp. Revenue from the pandemic-struck 2020, during which the hotel was closed for months, was $9 million, down from $38.7 million at the time the loan was secured. Expenses were also down.

A voicemail was left with the Ferchill Group on Friday afternoon.

The Westin Book Cadillac was the tallest building in Detroit when it opened in 1924. It closed for renovations in 1984 and remained empty for more than two decades until it reopened in 2008.

Now, Oxford in collaboration with The Gettys Group in Chicago and Marriott will reimagine the historic property "as sophisticated and classic with sculptural elements refined by elegant details to create a luxurious and residential feel," according to the news release.

Oxford also is behind development of The Godfrey Hotel Detroit in Corktown with luxury home builder Farmington Hills-based Hunter Pasteur. The 227-room hotel at 1401 Michigan Ave. is set to open in 2023 after the developers broke ground in September.

Taconic also has invested in Metro Detroit. The company has owned the 1 million-square-foot Galleria Officentre building in Southfield through a joint venture with New York's Axonic Capital LLC since 2016.

"The Westin Book Cadillac represents a tremendous value-add opportunity for one of the most historic and iconic assets in all of Detroit," Eric Sitman, director with Taconic, said in a statement. "Our partnership looks forward to improving the hotel’s positioning through a comprehensive renovation as the city of Detroit, along with the rest of the world, recovers from COVID.”


Twitter: @BreanaCNoble