Shinola Detroit is more than watches

By Alisha Dixon
With hammers in hand, Bedrock Founder Dan Gilbert, Bedrock Executive Vice President Dan Mullen and Shinola CEO Tom Lewand broke ground Tuesday for the new Shinola Hotel slated be open in the fall of 2018 in downtown Detroit.
“While Detroit has seen the launch of new hotels over the last few years, we still see a gap in the boutique hotel market. The Shinola Hotel will be like nothing else in Detroit and will be strategically located in the now burgeoning shopping district on Woodward Avenue,” said Mullen.
Shinola Detroit is most known for its watches, leather goods and bikes, but the company wants to expand its brand to contribute to Detroit’s growth and help to solidify the city as a major travel destination.
“We are excited about this venture because it presents a challenging creative exercise to create a boutique hotel concept that Detroit will be proud of. We’ve assembled best-in-class talent that will result in an experience which reflects the philosophy of the Shinola brand,” said Shinola founder Tom Kartsotis.
The 8-floor, 130-room boutique hotel will be located at 1400 Woodward Ave. in Detroit. The hotel will have 16,000 square feet of retail and food and beverage space and will feature an alleyway to connect the hotel to retail and restaurants.
NoHo Hospitality Group, New York-based hospitality firm and Chef Andrew Carmellini have partnered with Shinola and Bedrock to focus of the food and beverage options at the hotel.
In addition to the building located at 1400 Woodward Ave., the project will also include the building at 1416 Woodward and three buildings located on Woodward Ave. between Grand River and John R that will be demolished to make room for the project.
“Bedrock is a creative real estate firm that focuses on delivering unique developments. Shinola is this amazing craftsmanship brand. Utilizing both of our expertise to build a hotel is what is so attractive about this,” said Mullen.
New York-based Gachot Studios and Detroit-based Kraemer Design Group are in charge of the interior design and architectural components of the new hotel. At the groundbreaking, Bedrock released renderings of the entrance of the hotel and of the connected alley space.
“Behind the hotel we’re going to activate the alley space. Obviously, we love alleys,” Mullen said in reference to The Belt, an alley of art spaces opened in 2014 by Bedrock and the Library Street Collective. “We want to energize the alley and activate it so you’re not only getting great experience from the front, but also the back of the property.”
One of the unique things about this project, Gilbert said, is that it includes vertical construction. This kind of construction, he believes marks the beginning of billions of dollars of vertical projects to be developed along Woodward Ave.
As the city of Detroit expands to become a world-class travel destination for Detroiters and non-Detroiters, Gilbert said, so does the need for hotels.
“There is a demand for hotel rooms here in Detroit. And so, if we can bring more people into the city, it does impact the local economy from a restaurant point of view, from a retail point of view,” Shinola President Jacque Panis said. “There will be elements of the brand within the space, within the common spaces and within the rooms. Our message is: This is home. And we are dedicated to the city.”


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