Detroit-based real estate development firm Roxbury Group today announced it has signed an agreement with Marriott International to build and open a 153-room, 10-story AC Hotel in the city’s Brush Park neighborhood on Woodward Avenue immediately north of the Bonstelle Theatre.
Expected to open in late 2021, the AC Detroit at the Bonstelle will be the first AC Hotel in southeast Michigan and the second in the state. Construction is slated to begin this summer.
The $46 million project will incorporate the restoration of the historic Bonstelle Theatre to its original 1903 Albert Kahn-designed exterior and 1925 interior redesign by noted theater architect C. Howard Crane, under the direction of its then-new owner, Jessie Bonstelle.
The theater will be used for live performances, as well as civic, corporate, and private events, and will be connected to the hotel via a glass-enclosed conservatory featuring a bar and private event space. The Roxbury Group recently entered into a long-term master lease of the Bonstelle with Wayne State University.
The Bonstelle Theatre opened in 1903 as the Temple Beth El synagogue, and was designed by Kahn, who belonged to the congregation. In 1925, the synagogue moved further north on Woodward, and the building became home to a theater company and renamed the Bonstelle Playhouse.
After the Depression, the theater was used as a movie house. In 1951, the venue was acquired by Wayne State University, which restored its name and function as a theater. In 2018, WSU announced that, following an expansion of the Hilberry Theatre, the Bonstelle would be decommissioned.
“We are very excited to be bringing the AC Hotels brand to Detroit, and to be doing so in such grand fashion with the connection to the Bonstelle Theatre,” says David Di Rita, principal of the Roxbury Group. “We take a great deal of pride in pairing high-end hospitality with iconic historic properties, and we are honored to be restoring the beauty of the Bonstelle and seamlessly integrating it with the modern sensibility of AC Hotels.”
Roxbury is developing the project in collaboration with its recently formed Treefort Hospitality subsidiary, which develops and manages the company’s food, beverage, and hotel portfolio. The AC Hotel at the Bonstelle will be Roxbury’s third hospitality project in Detroit, each od which has combined one of Marriott International’s select-service brands with an iconic historic property.
Azul Hospitality, which manages Roxbury’s Element Detroit at the Metropolitan, will manage the AC Hotel at the Bonstelle. Design for the project is being led by Detroit-based Patrick Thompson Design, and construction will be managed by the Christman Co.
Once open, the new facility will feature a unique design, “sleek” guest rooms, and flexible public spaces. Guests will be treated to curated art, libraries, a lavender turndown service, a state-of-the-art fitness center, a day-to-night AC Lounge, and AC Kitchen.
The complex will anchor a series of developments planned for surrounding properties at Mack and Woodward that are being developed by Birmingham-based Professional Property Management.