Boutique hotel seeks a Corktown spot on Michigan Avenue

Louis Aguilar
The Detroit News

Detroit — A chic hotel chain known as The Godfrey wants a Michigan Avenue location in Corktown, according to two people familiar with the plans. 

The Chicago-based hotel group that describes itself as "boutique luxury" is involved in a plan to tear down an empty building at 1401 Michigan, one block east of Trumbull, to make way for a new hotel with around 150 rooms and potentially a rooftop lounge, according to the two who have seen the plans. They didn't want to be named because they are not authorized to publicly discuss the development. 

The development is a plan in progress and still needs to go through various city approvals before becoming reality. A public meeting hosted by the developers is scheduled 6-7 p.m. March 12 at the Corner Ballpark, 1680 Michigan. 

Chicago-based Godfrey Hotels is involved in a potential deal that would raze this empty Corktown building to make way for a new boutique hotel with a potential rooftop lounge. The 1401 Michigan Ave. building is at the southwest corner of Michigan and 8th, about one block from Michigan and Trumbull.

The Godfrey is a small chain, with single properties in Chicago, Boston and Tampa. Another is scheduled to open in Hollywood this summer, according to the company website. 

The Michigan Avenue building is currently owned by an entity linked to the owners of Nemo's Bar & Grill, which has been a Corktown landmark for decades. The building is catty-cornered from Nemo's. The owners of Nemo's are working on a deal to sell the building to Farmington Hills' Hunter Pasteur Homes, which is the group looking to secure the potential hotel deal, the sources said. 

The Godfrey chain and Hunter Pasteur declined comment Thursday.  Nemo's owner Pat Springstead also declined comment. 

Some of Hunter Pasteur's other local developments include City Modern in Brush Park. The group is a principal developer along with Detroit's Bedrock in the 400-unit-plus, multi-building development on the northern edge of downtown.  

Hunter Pasteur was also behind a recently withdrawn plan to develop the Northville Downs harness-racing track into a large-scale commercial and residential area. In fall 2018, the group delayed that estimated $200 million proposal indefinitely.

The potential site of the new hotel in Corktown was last used as a City Cab building, public records show. The Nemo's entity purchased the building in 2011 during the annual Wayne County tax auction. The selling price was $95,100, public records show.

Michigan Avenue has been undergoing a long revival with a string of Corktown restaurants, bars and residential developments.

In 2018, Ford Motor Co. announced it had purchased the nearby Michigan Central Depot, one of the city's most infamous dead buildings. The former train station is one of a number of Corktown properties Ford purchased. The automaker's aim is use the city's oldest neighborhood as the hub for the development of mobility, autonomy and electrification technologies expected to radically alter the auto industry.