New JW Marriott Hotel Along Detroit Riverfront to Generate $100M in Annual Spending

New details were released today about the 25-story JW Marriott Hotel now under construction immediately west of Huntington Place Convention Center in downtown Detroit, at Water Square on the former site of Joe Louis Arena.
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The JW Marriott Hotel now under construction west of the Huntington Place Convention Center along the Detroit riverfront will offer 600 hotel rooms, meeting rooms, a full-service spa and pool, restaurants and dining options, and a public park. The opening is scheduled for March 2027. // Photo courtesy of Sterling Group

New details were released today about the 25-story JW Marriott Hotel now under construction immediately west of Huntington Place Convention Center in downtown Detroit, at Water Square on the former site of Joe Louis Arena.

Detroit-based developer Sterling Group and the Detroit Regional Convention Facility Authority state the hotel will be connected to Huntington Place via a skybridge.

The 600-room hotel will significantly increase Detroit’s hotel room availability as the region and state seek to draw more large conventions and major events.

“This connected hotel will change the hospitality landscape in the City of Detroit and allow for Huntington Place to attract more and larger conventions. It will be a significant economic benefit to the City and the region,” says Danny Samson, chief development officer of Sterling Group.

“We are appreciative to The Union Labor Life Insurance Company (Ullico), the State of Michigan, City of Detroit, and Oakland, Wayne, and Macomb counties for their continued support and all of their efforts to make this project a reality.”

Given JW Marriott Detroit Water Square’s scale, caliber, and connection to Huntington Place, it is expected that the property will serve as an economic catalyst for the entire area and generate more than $100 million in new spending annually.

Further, it will help to elevate Huntington Place to the connected, convention-style hotels present in Chicago, Minneapolis, Columbus, Indianapolis, Cleveland, and other cities.

“The significant investment made by Sterling Group will create the first hotel connected to our convention center in the city’s history,” says Claude Molinari, chairperson of the DRCFA. “This waterfront development reflects the accelerating strength of Detroit to attract premier meetings and conventions.

“A connected hotel is a critical component that will allow Huntington Place and the City of Detroit to be a competitive force to attract such events going forward.”

Hotel construction began in early April 2024 and is expected to be completed by early 2027, in time for the Men’s NCAA Final Four tournament at Ford Field in Detroit in March of 2027. The Final Four is scheduled for April 3 and April 5, 2027.

The project is being financed by Ullico, the only labor-owned insurance and investment company in the country. The same lender  provided financing for the adjacent Residences at Water Square, a 25-story, 496-unit luxury apartment building that opened in February.

“We are proud to invest in a Detroit project that supports unions,” says Brian J. Hale, president and CEO of Ullico Inc. “Through J for Jobs, we help increase the vast economic power of the labor movement while bolstering local economies.”

The hotel project will be an all-union project and is expected to create 426 direct and indirect jobs as well as more than 600 union construction jobs.

The Sterling Group reports the project is supported by Wayne County Executive Warren Evans, Oakland County Executive Dave Coulter, and Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel, and their representatives, Detroit Mayor Duggan and his team, as well as the Neighborhood Advisory Council (NAC), Detroit City Council, and Michigan Economic Development Corp. through the Michigan Strategic Fund, all of whom voted unanimously to support the project.

“The recent NFL Draft (held April 25-27 in the central business district) has generated a lot of interest in other large events coming to Detroit,” says Duggan. “The addition of a 600-room hotel attached to our convention center already will make us much more competitive, and having a luxury brand like JW operating the hotel takes things to a whole new level.

“Visitors staying there will enjoy world class services and amenities, along with spectacular views of downtown and direct access to our nationally recognized riverfront.”

The Detroit Red Wings left Joe Louis Arena in 2017 and the property was demolished in 2021. In February of 2022, construction began on the Residences at Water Square and the Grand Opening was in February of 2024.

Water Square will include a park planned between The Residences and the hotel. The park will be open to the public and feature a variety of plantings, hardscape features, public art, outdoor lighting, doggy station, seating areas, and river views.

“Through collaborative efforts with the entire City of Detroit team and Neighborhood Advisory Council, we were able to design a hotel project and a unique park area that will provide improved connectivity to downtown and the Detroit River, incorporate public art from local artists, and be accessible to all residents and visitors to the area,” says Samson.

The JW Marriott brand was founded by J. Willard Marriott. JW Marriott Hotels are designed to provide a space for guests to focus on their mind, body, and spirit.

The hotel brand states the JW Marriott Detroit Water Square will be a property that embodies this philosophy, and offer 50,000 square feet of meeting rooms, gathering spaces, a full-service spa and pool, open spaces, a lobby bar, a market, and dining options that connect to the outdoors.

For more information about Sterling Group, visit sgdetroit.com/.