flexiblefullpage -
billboard - default
interstitial1 - interstitial
catfish1 - bottom
Currently Reading

Detroit's economic improvement a boon to its hotel sector

Adaptive Reuse

Detroit's economic improvement a boon to its hotel sector

Detroit Foundation, a stylish boutique hotel, is the Motor City’s newest hospitality venue.

By John Caulfield, Senior Editor | December 11, 2017

The 100-room Detroit Foundation Hotel, in downtown Detroit, is this city's latest example of adaptive reuse that is restoring old, often vacant, buildings. Image: McIntosh Poris Architects

The Detroit Foundation Hotel, an adaptive reuse and merging of two historic buildings, has emerged as one of the hotter downtown boutique spots serving the Motor City’s recovery.

The five-story, 100-key hotel, which opened on May 12, recently took home best honors in the Upscale category at the 37th annual Gold Key Awards for Excellence in Hospitality Design.

Detroit-based McIntosh Poris Associates, the lead designer on this $28 million project, converted the former Detroit Fire Department headquarters, which dates back to 1929, and the adjacent Pontchartrain Wine Cellars. Both were historically registered buildings.

The buildings’ existing facades were repaired, restored, or replaced, as were the firehouse’s decorative terra cotta panels with firehouse themes, like busts of firefighters, gryphons at a fire hydrant, and winged serpent-tailed figures flanking a shield proclaiming “DFD.”

The terra cotta-arched entrance of this Neoclassical hotel brings guests into a story-and-a-half space that once housed fire engines. On the first floor is a two-star-rated restaurant called The Apparatus Room and a private dining room


The doors of the old firehouse were restored, and lead guests into a story-and-a-half area that used to contain fire engines and now features a restaurant and private dining room. Image: McIntosh Poris Architects


Because of to the five-foot floor height difference between the two historic buildings, the architects varied the spaces throughout the hotel with 55 room types. Local artists who took part in the hotel renovation include Detroit Wallpaper Co. and Architectural Salvage Warehouse Detroit, according to the Detroit News.

The hotel’s amenities include complimentary Wi-Fi, a 24-hour fitness center, same-day laundry and dry cleaning, available valet service, complimentary bike rental, and a business center. This month, the high-end regional mall Somerset Collection opened a pop-up, lounge-style retail gallery at the hotel, featuring curated products such as furniture and luxury throws from the mall’s 180 stores.


An interior view of The Apparatus, a two-star restaurant on the first floor of the Detroit Foundation Hotel. Image: McIntosh Poris Architects


The opening of the Detroit Foundation Hotel reflects increasing room demand in line with this metro’s ongoing recovery and economic growth. Next fall, a 130-room Shinola Hotel, which Dan Gilbert’s Bedrock Real Estate is developing, is scheduled to open.

Year-to-date through September 2017, the metro Detroit hotel market posted a 0.4% increase in its occupancy rate and a 5.6% rise in its average daily rate. This resulted in an overall 6% increase in revenue per available room when compared to the same period in 2016.

The Building Team on the Detroit Foundation Hotel project included Aparium Hotel Group (owner), Simeone Deary Design Group (interior design, positioning/graphics, and branding), Sachse Construction (GC), MA Engineering (MEP); Structural Design, Inc. (SE), Giffels Webster (CE traffic engineer); Illuminart (lighting design); Soundscape (acoustical design); Kraemer Design Group (historic preservation consultant); Next Step Design (food service consultant); and Sorbis (low voltage design).

Related Stories

MFPRO+ News | Nov 21, 2023

Underused strip malls offer great potential for conversions to residential use

Replacing moribund strip malls with multifamily housing could make a notable dent in the housing shortage and revitalize under-used properties across the country, according to a report from housing nonprofit Enterprise Community Partners.

Office Buildings | Nov 10, 2023

3 important early considerations for office-to-residential conversions

Scott Campagna, PE, Senior Director of Housing, IMEG Corp, shares insights from experts on office-to-residential conversion issues that may be mitigated when dealt with early.

Adaptive Reuse | Nov 1, 2023

Biden Administration reveals plan to spur more office-to-residential conversions

The Biden Administration recently announced plans to encourage more office buildings to be converted to residential use. The plan includes using federal money to lend to developers for conversion projects and selling government property that is suitable for conversions. 

Government Buildings | Oct 23, 2023

Former munitions plant reimagined as net-zero federal workplace

The General Services Administration (GSA) has embraced adaptive reuse with Building 48, an exciting workplace project that sets new precedents for how the federal government will approach sustainable design.

Esports Arenas | Oct 10, 2023

Modular esports arena attracts more than gamers

As the esports market continues to grow to unprecedented numbers, more facilities are being developed by universities and real estate firms each year.

Luxury Residential | Oct 2, 2023

Chicago's Belden-Stratford luxury apartments gets centennial facelift

The Belden-Stratford has reopened its doors following a renovation that blends the 100-year-old building’s original architecture with modern residences.

Office Buildings | Sep 28, 2023

Structural engineering solutions for office-to-residential conversion

IMEG's Edwin Dean,  Joe Gulden, and Doug Sweeney, share seven key focuses for structural engineers when planning office-to-residential conversions.

Adaptive Reuse | Sep 19, 2023

Transforming shopping malls into 21st century neighborhoods

As we reimagine the antiquated shopping mall, Marc Asnis, AICP, Associate, Perkins&Will, details four first steps to consider.

Adaptive Reuse | Sep 15, 2023

Salt Lake City’s Frank E. Moss U.S. Courthouse will transform into a modern workplace for federal agencies

In downtown Salt Lake City, the Frank E. Moss U.S. Courthouse is being transformed into a modern workplace for about a dozen federal agencies. By providing offices for agencies previously housed elsewhere, the adaptive reuse project is expected to realize an annual savings for the federal government of up to $6 million in lease costs.

Office Buildings | Sep 14, 2023

New York office revamp by Kohn Pedersen Fox features new façade raising occupant comfort, reducing energy use

The modernization of a mid-century Midtown Manhattan office tower features a new façade intended to improve occupant comfort and reduce energy consumption. The building, at 666 Fifth Avenue, was originally designed by Carson & Lundin. First opened in November 1957 when it was considered cutting-edge, the original façade of the 500-foot-tall modernist skyscraper was highly inefficient by today’s energy efficiency standards.

boombox1 - default
boombox2 -
native1 -

More In Category

halfpage1 -

Most Popular Content

  1. 2021 Giants 400 Report
  2. Top 150 Architecture Firms for 2019
  3. 13 projects that represent the future of affordable housing
  4. Sagrada Familia completion date pushed back due to coronavirus
  5. Top 160 Architecture Firms 2021