Detroit's Book Cadillac Hotel Reopens
By Margaret Foster | Online Only | Oct. 8, 2008
It's rare when a building abandoned for more than two decades survives and rebounds. But that's just what's happened to the 1924 Book Cadillac Hotel in downtown Detroit. After a two-year, $190 million renovation, the building reopened Monday as the Westin Book Cadillac Detroit.
"The city worked really hard for this, and all the people pulled together [to provide] the multilayers of financing," says Karen Nager, board president of Preservation Wayne, based in Detroit. "It's going to be a real boost to the surrounding buildings, which could definitely use the inhabitants."
The Book Cadillac, abandoned in 1984, narrowly escaped demolition. In preparation for baseball's 2005 All-Star Game, the 2006 World Series, and the 2006 Superbowl, the city in 2005 demolished two other empty hotels, the Madison-Lenox and the Statler, which sat vacant for 30 years. That year, the National Trust for Historic Preservation placed the historic buildings of downtown Detroit on the list of America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places. (The Madison-Lenox was on the same list in 2004.)
The Cleveland-based Ferchill Group restored the Book Cadillac's exterior and refitted the interior of the building with 453 rooms and 64 condos.
"Now that the city's largest building needing rehabilitation has been renovated, it can be used as a roadmap for other projects," says Lucas McGrail, historian and secretary of the Friends of the Book Cadillac, the group that was, as he puts it, "the thorn in the proverbial side of the city administration that wanted to tear it down."
Tonight the hotel welcomes its first overnight guests, and the hotel is booked solid for upcoming events, according to Scott Stinebaugh, director of sales and marketing.
"The initial response has exceeded our expectations," Stinebaugh says. "We look at this as certainly an economic engine for this entire area."
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