Described as a jewel box at the time it opened in 1966, the Hotel St. Regis in Detroit’s New Center is undergoing a top-to-bottom, $9-million renovation of its 125 hotel rooms, 350-person ballroom, guest areas, and dining and hospitality facilities.
With downtown Detroit and the Midtown district at or near peak occupancy, investors and developers have looked for opportunities farther north in New Center, a multi-block enclave centered at W. Grand Boulevard and Second Avenue.
Large office users like Strategic Staffing Solutions, which last October announced it was moving to the historic Fisher Building in the heart of New Center from the central business district, are part of a wave of new additions and investment in the area.
The Fisher Building, owned by The Platform, is undergoing a multimillion-dollar renovation, while a block to the west the same developer recently completed construction of The Boulevard, a 231-apartment complex with ground floor retail offerings. It’s joined by the new Henry Ford Detroit Pistons Performance Center to the south, medical and research projects by Henry Ford Health System and Wayne State University, and a planned expansion of the Motown Museum.
The additions bode well for the hotel, once the impact of COVID-19 is in the rear-view mirror.
“Nearly everything at the Hotel St. Regis will be brand new except for the memories of famous guests who stayed here like Martin Luther King Jr., Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, and Mick Jagger,” says Christos Moisides, principal of Invictus Equity Group in Detroit. The investment team includes Roy Roberts, Gretchen Valade, David Sutherland, Brian Whelan, and the family of the late O’Neil Swanson. The renovation was financed by the Bank of Ann Arbor, while AHC+ is managing the hotel.
Paying tribute to the past, Room 601 has been renamed the MLK Suite. The civil rights leader stayed at the hotel in June 1966 while attending the “We Rally for Freedom” gathering in downtown Detroit. The space, since remodeled, includes a bedroom suite, a sitting room, wood floors, and new furniture and cabinets.
“All of the rooms have been redone,” says Moisides, principal of Byzantine Holdings in Detroit. “The tubs have been replaced with showers, there’s all new elevators, and flat-screen TVs. We’re adding new dining options, a cigar bar, an outdoor dining patio, and a new kitchen.”
The upgrades, which include high-speed wireless internet access and a business center, will come online in the coming months.
The cuisine will be overseen by Chef Bobby Nahra, principal of Encore Catering and Banquet Center in St. Clair Shores. Other local contributors include Kyle Evans Design, McIntosh Poris Associates, and Rockford Construction.
“The food and ambience will be exclusive, yet inclusive to everyone,” Nahra says.