Detroit — A boutique hotel-style lobby with 24/7 concierge, a gourmet market, pet store and restaurant are among the amenities planned for an apartment complex on the former site of Statler Hotel.
Officials held a ceremonial groundbreaking Thursday afternoon for the upcoming City Club Apartments CBD Detroit on Washington Boulevard in the city’s downtown. The event took place at the David Whitney Building, which is across the street from the site where construction began in September.
“Four years ago, it seems inconceivable that someone was building an apartment building from the ground up,” Mayor Mike Duggan said.
It was City Club Apartments’ CEO Jonathan Holtzman who took the lead on such a project when the idea seemed more speculative, he said. Duggan joined Holtzman and City Council President Brenda Jones on Thursday to mark the progress.
The City Club Apartments CBD Detroit will have 288 apartments and penthouses and 13,000 square feet of street-level retail space. Furnished short-term rentals will also be available when the building opens in late 2018. The project is expected to be complete during the second quarter of 2019. CBD stands for Central Business District.
Site features include a restaurant with outdoor dining space facing Grand Circus Park, an entertainment club room with a gourmet kitchen and an indoor/outdoor pool and hot tub connected to a private park. Also on the site are a dog park, outdoor movie theater, a professional fitness center and 24/7 underground valet parking.
“We believe in density and building a walkable community,” Duggan said. “The fact that developers are putting 400 parking spaces built into underground garages is the kind of urban planning that we want. We continue to have the buildings, the 13,000-square-feet of retail close together while putting the parking that will be enough not just to serve the residents here but to also help with congestion space. I think it’s a great contribution.”
The building will have studio to three-bedroom units, penthouses, half-baths and dens. The units will feature oversized windows and custom window treatments as well as terraces and balconies.
The building is on the site of the former Statler Hotel, which opened in 1915 and closed its doors in 1975. The building was demolished in 2005.
“It gives you a sense of how long and how deep Detroit’s decline had been that this beautiful property wasn’t being used,” Duggan said. “When you see these historic sites be used for generations to come, it means a lot.”
Statler Hotel was known as one the city’s premier hotels when it opened. It featured private baths — a first for a Detroit hotel — and in-room telephones and cold running water in every room.
The development on Washington Boulevard is being touted as the first conventionally financed ground up mixed-use high-rise community in Detroit in more than 30 years. The lenders for the project are Huntington Bank, Bank of Ann Arbor and Comerica Bank.
“We felt we could make it work and we did,” Holtzman said.
The project is developed by Holtzman’s Farmington Hills-based City Club Apartments. Hotlzman was previously CEO of former Village Green Holdings, which he sold in 2016 to Dallas-based Compatriot Capital. He retained ownership of 10,000 apartments in 30 communities.
Under a partnership with Canadian developer and investor Alan Greenberg, the company has $500 million in new communities in various stages of development in cities including downtown Cincinnati, Minneapolis, Kansas City and Chicago. Holtzman said people used to view it as a negative when he would say he was from Detroit.
“It was never a negative for me,” he said. “The issue was when was it going to be right for Detroit again. ... I think the political leadership and the way the departments are operating is so positive.”
Jones said Thursday that the location was personal for her. She used to own a shoe store in the David Whitney building and she lived in the Fyfe building near the former Statler Hotel.
“Looking at what the mayor said: a building that was vacant forever,” she said. “To see what happened in downtown and throughout the years, it’s so exciting. ... This is a time where development is really high in the city of Detroit.”
Jones noted the opportunity the retail space will provide small businesses.
“I wish you were here when I had my small business,” Jones said. “But look out. I’m not always going to be a city council person, and a small business might be the next thing I’m looking for in your building.”
The apartment building will have 20 percent of its units set aside for affordable housing, officials said. The development committed to that percentage prior to the city’s ordinance requiring affordable housing, Jones said.