The century-old David Whitney Building towered over Grand Circus Park like a giant carcass for 15 years, another casualty of Detroit’s decades-long economic decline.
But after a $92 million renovation, the 19-story building reopened in December as “Aloft Hotel,” a boutique hotel with 136 rooms and 105 apartments.
The four-story atrium lobby is breathtaking, covered in terra cotta and marble.
The building, which was designed by famed architect Daniel H. Burnham, is a monument to David Whitney Jr., an immensely wealthy lumber baron and shipping magnate, according to HistoricDetroit.org, which describes the building as “one of the most important structures in Detroit.” When the building opened in January 1915, the four-story lobby was ringed with storefronts, and the upper levels served as offices for doctors, lawyers, dentists and others, HistoricDetroit.org wrote.
The public is invited to tour the lobby, which will not disappoint.
The restoration was done by Walbridge.
Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.