Detroit's Book Cadillac Hotel Reopens

 

Medium-sized image unavailable for this photo.
"It's astounding," says Karen Nager, president of the board of Detroit-based Preservation Wayne, of the 1924 Book Cadillac Hotel's $200 million transformation into the Westin Book Cadillac Detroit.

Credit: Westin Book Cadillac Detroit

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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Comments

Submitted by joe at: March 19, 2010
great news from detroit

Submitted by sblmnl at: August 11, 2009
I live catercorner from the Book Cadillac, and I never realized it was also residential. Here I was thinking it was only the Westin all along. Beautiful on the inside (I went in there to get cash once), but who can afford it? It IS Detroit we're talking about. I certainly couldn't.

Submitted by A Voice for the local people at: May 11, 2009
The hotel has time to do all of this fancy stuff for well known people (see below) but they don't have time to pay the little people for the hard work they have done on the hotel? ...Detroit has more than enough problems without big corporations hurting the local workers by not paying for services rendered. How can a hotel that carries the "H" name get away with not paying for work done? ....It's uncalled for to treat local workers in this manner! (Dave Bing told The Insider he’s confident and relaxed. He chatted as workers set up chairs, balloons were already afixed to netting in the ceiling, waiting to rain down, and his campaign visage appeared on a big screen on the second floor of the Doubletree Fort Shelby Hotel...the hotel where he celebrated his Feb. 24 primary victory. The hotel, incidentally, was developed by Emmett Moten, a key Bing backer.)

Submitted by One Voice Among Many at: May 11, 2009
Apparently not all have been paid for the hard work they did to help make the refurbished Ft Shelby hotel beautiful...Detroit has more than enough problems without big corporations hurting the local workers by not paying for services rendered. How can a hotel that carries the famous logo/name get away with not paying for work done??? How terrible!! It's ashame they treat local workers this way.

Submitted by CH and AW at: April 16, 2009
All this funding is being given to help refurbish these hotels, businesses and such. It's a shame that the Banks or the City, who is included in the funding process for renovation, isn't making sure that the vendors or subs are getting paid for doing the work. These large companies are sure getting the money but it does not seem that they are necessarily passing it along to those who do the work!!!!!!!!!

Submitted by "the little guy" at: April 8, 2009
The Fort Shelby Hotel Bar and restaurant in facility looked upscale. Room was gorgeous. The hotel is very lovely when you walk in the lobby, it is so beautiful and the rooms itself are just perfect. The room was beautiful, clean and spacious, and the staff were very friendly. Beautiful decor, excellent service from the front door to the front desk! This is a beautiful hotel. It was gorgeous and the staff was VERY helpful. Atmosphere, dining and bar in hotel, absolutely wonderful. "...provides outstanding luxury accommodations in beautifully restored surroundings". “Something that Aprill is particularly proud of is the Fort Shelby's commitment to local talent and investment”. All the nice comments posted and said about how beautiful the furnishings and hotel is and unfortunately there are some subs who worked on this project that are still waiting to be paid. It appears to me that the "local talent" being paid for work done is not a priority. But I guess it's just the same story different day....the big corporation gets all the money and the little guy is left in the dust.

Submitted by The Ft Shelby Hotel at: April 2, 2009
Something that Aprill is particularly proud of is the Fort Shelby's commitment to local talent and investment. Bar and restaurant in facility looked upscale. Room was gorgeous. The hotel is very lovely when you walk in the lobby, it is so beautiful and the rooms itself are just perfect. The room was beautiful, clean and spacious,and the staff were very friendly. Beautiful decor, excellent service from the front door to the front desk! This is a beautiful hotel. It was gorgeous and the staff was VERY helpful. Atmosphere, dining and bar in hotel, absolutely wonderful. Financing for the $82 million project is coming from the General Retirement System of Greater Detroit, of all places – along with ShoreBank, HUD, federal and state historic tax credits, Michigan single business tax credits and a Federal historic conservation easement. "...provides outstanding luxury accommodations in beautifully restored surroundings". All the nice comments posted and said about how beautiful the furnishings and hotel and unfortunately the are some who worked on this project that are still waiting to be paid. "The statistics are scary," admits Shannon Dunavent, general manager of the Doubletree Guest Suites hotel that was lovingly carved out of the carcass of the Fort Shelby. "I've been working in Michigan for 20 years and I won't lie to you. There's no new business in the market. We're all trying to steal from the other guy to survive" - it really makes you wonder how low they will go to "steal from the other guy to survive".

Submitted by RA at: April 1, 2009
"The statistics are scary," admits Shannon Dunavent, general manager of the Doubletree Guest Suites hotel that was lovingly carved out of the carcass of the Fort Shelby. "I've been working in Michigan for 20 years and I won't lie to you. There's no new business in the market. We're all trying to steal from the other guy to survive."........it appears from this comment by the Mgr of the Ft Shelby, that they have tried to avoid paying what is owed.

Submitted by anonymous at: April 1, 2009
From what I understand: the Fort Shelby Hotel represents a 90 million renovation. There will be substansial tax credits to the Hotel. The hotel was booked for the car show. Nearly 1,000 guests attended the Grand-Opening Gala at $200 per ticket. The hotel is booked for the Final Four. What I don't understand: why there are unpaid vendors/subs in regard to the renovation work. Everyone should be paid in full.

Submitted by Anonymous at: February 20, 2009
I am just thrilled to see that life has been restored to the Book Cadillac Hotel. I was Director of Sales there when Bill Anton was General Manager just prior to its closing. I could see all of the potential but had little hope that someone would believe in this old beauty before it was demolished. I live in Atlanta now and haven't had an opportunity to see this miracle for myself, but hope to on my next visit home. God Bless submitted by J.A. Kind

Submitted by CJ at: November 3, 2008
THANK GOD that project is done! Ive seen the inside of the finished building and its almost imposible to beleve it was abandoned 2 years ago, and let me tell you this, the post renovaton photos dont do the hotel justice. All i can say is i hope the Fort Shelby comes out just as beutifull as the Book Caddy when it reopens in December.

Submitted by Matt Jensen at: October 24, 2008
I would just like to say what an amazing transformation from the current state the dwelling stood before this project was taken on. Preserving the original buidling to its new former use must have been a breathtaking project making this a new icon of Detroit. The development involved in this design has been outstanding and it is somewhere I am considering to visit in my near future.