David Whitney Building in Detroit to Offer Autograph Collection Hotel, New Restaurants

The historic David Whitney Building in downtown Detroit will undergo a major renovation and include a new and expanded Autograph Collection hotel, which will replace the Aloft brand, along with the debut of food and beverages venues.
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The David Whitney Building in Detroit will undergo major renovations to the living spaces, hotel spaces, and dining spaces. // Courtesy of The David Whitney Building
The David Whitney Building in Detroit will undergo major renovations to the living spaces, hotel spaces, and dining spaces. // Courtesy of The David Whitney Building

The historic David Whitney Building in downtown Detroit will undergo a major renovation and include a new and expanded Autograph Collection hotel, which will replace the Aloft brand, along with the debut of food and beverages venues.

The project by the building’s owner, Detroit-based The Roxbury Group, along with TreeFort Hospitality, will see as the centerpiece the Autograph Collection hotel, which will be introduced in phases over the next 12 months to 14 months, and will involve the complete renovation of all 136 guest rooms, and the addition of two more hotel floors for a total of 160 guest rooms and suites.

Additionally, 24 of the David Whitney’s current apartments are expected to be converted to one and two-bedroom hotel suites, leaving 80 residences on the upper seven floors. The Roxbury Group’s plans also call for substantial upgrades to the hotel’s lobby bar, atrium lounge, and outdoor seating.

In addition, plans include a restaurant in the current Capper & Capper event space at the corner of Woodward and Park Avenues. The Roxbury Group states is in discussions with a number of potential operators for the restaurant and expect to announce more specific plans by the end of summer.

“In working with Marriott International and our management team at Azul Hospitality, we concluded that downtown Detroit was ready for the level of service and experience that an Autograph Collection hotel would bring — and of course there is simply no better place for that to happen than the David Whitney,” says Stacy Fox, a principal of The Roxbury Group.

The David Whitney will be the first Autograph Collection property in downtown Detroit. Autograph Collection Hotels champions the individuality of each of its over 250 independent hotels located in desirable destinations across 43 countries and territories.

The David Whitney, designed by famed Chicago architecture firm D.H. Burnham and Co., originally opened as a medical office and retail building in 1915. Following a decline in the fortunes of the Grand Circus Park Historic District, the building closed in the late 1990s.

A partnership led by The Roxbury Group acquired the property in 2011, and after a $94-million restoration, the David Whitney Building reopened in 2014 as a mixed-used property, marking a major milestone in the decades-long rebirth of Detroit’s theater district.

Work on the building is expected to commence later this summer and is targeted to be completed by late 2023. The Roxbury Group is working with Detroit-based Patrick Thompson Design and Infuz Architects on the design for the hotel, as well as with Gensler on brand-identity and O’Brien Construction Co. on construction management.

The hotel will continue to be managed by San Diego-based Azul Hospitality, which also manages the Element Detroit at the Metropolitan and the Monarch Club for The Roxbury Group.

The Roxbury Group is a real estate development and investment firm founded in 2005. The firm, which specializes in complex real estate and economic development projects, has developed $300 million in projects with $150 million of projects in the pipeline.

In addition to the David Whitney and the Element Detroit at the Metropolitan Building, Roxbury’s hospitality work includes the AC Detroit at the Bonstelle in Detroit’s Midtown which is targeted to break ground later this year, and a planned 150-room hotel at Ann Arbor’s Broadway Park West development.

Roxbury’s TreeFort Hospitality arm has been responsible for several food and beverage venues, including the Buhl Bar, the Monarch Club, the Hammer & Nail, and the Cadillac House Inn and Tavern in Lexington. TreeFort is currently developing a second bar venue for the Metropolitan that will open later this year.

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