DETROIT -- Developers and Mayor Mike Duggan on Thursday celebrated the start of construction on a new ground-up Downtown Detroit apartment building that will begin pre-leasing in the summer.
The City Club Apartments-Central Business District project at the corner of Washington Boulevard and Park Avenue is a $70-million, mixed-use high-rise project that sits on the site of the former Statler Hotel, next to the luxurious David Whitney Building.
"This is a site of great historical significance and we take seriously our responsibility to deliver a special community to the city," said Jonathan Holtzman, chairman and CEO of City Club Apartments.
The historic 1915-built Statler Hotel once hosted business, sports arts and entertainment guests for six decades before being abandoned and eventually demolished in 2005.
"For 43 years... it's been empty," said Duggan. "It gives you a sense of how long and how deep Detroit's decline has been. When you see these historic sites be used for generations to come, it means a lot."
About 20 percent of the units will be set aside as affordable housing for people earning up to 80 percent of the area median income, and about 400 underground parking spaces are part of the plan.
"When the Statler Hotel came down over a decade ago, we lost a great building on one of the most exclusive corners downtown," Duggan said. "...this corner will be redeveloped in a way that will allow Detroiters a range of income levels to call it home."
The high-rise will include 288 apartments and penthouses of 400 to 1,700-square-foot floor plans styled in 50 different ways, an indoor and outdoor swimming pool and hot tub, and 13,000 square feet of retail including a pet store, gourmet market and a restaurant.
The former 18-story Statler Hotel opened on Feb. 6, 1915 and was once considered a premier hotel in Detroit. After gaining popularity, an extension was built to the hotel, adding 1,000 extra rooms.
The hotel cost $3.5 million to build, or $70.9 million today, and was designed by George B. Post and Louis Rorimer in the Italian and Renaissance Revival styles, according to a news release from the developers.
It also featured private bathrooms, which were a first for Detroit hotels, in-room telephones and cold running water. It was the first hotel in the nation to have air conditioning in all public areas, according to the news release. It also had a medical department on the top floor.
In 1923, a room with a shower and bed cost $3 a night and an extra 50 cents for a second bed. Suites would start at $13 a night.
Several celebrities from across the world stayed at the Statler, including Harry Houdini, master illusionist and escape artist. Houdini stayed at the hotel for his last performance at the Garrick Theater on Halloween night in 1926, according to a news release.
Others included Franklin D. Roosevelt, Zsa Zsa Gabor and Jerry Lewis.