If the Harvard Business School isn't studying the development of Detroit's Shinola brand as a modern-America civic marriage between business and citizens, they should be. This fall, downtown Detroit welcomes the first Shinola brand hotel, created in a refurbished department store on the formerly prosperous Woodward Avenue.
The 129-room boutique hotel is Shinola's boldest idea yet, with its sign now installed for the world to see. The artisan-inspired, deep community roots brand has been the vision behind a major, block-wide development that includes residences, restaurants, a fitness center and a mix of national and local retail.
Shinola has teamed up with real estate firm Bedrock and New York-based Gachot Studios and also locally-based Kraemer Design Group for design. The Detroit-inspired property is not only a luxurious brand extension but “an idea born out of the desire to bring people together” with a design that’s at once “nostalgic—and thoroughly modern.”
The urban renovations include the building at 1400 Woodward, plus the Singer Building nearby, and the demolition plus construction of new buildings along the block. An alley will be activated behind the building, making connections to the nearby Element Hotel at the Metropolitan Building and The Siren Hotel at the Wurlitzer.
The renaissance of Detroit has been slow to come to fruition, but with Ford's June announcement concerning its purchase of Detroit's Central Station and intention to renovate and redevelop it into a 1.2 million-square-foot downtown campus that will eventually host about 2,500 employees.
Shinola is not the only brand to enter the hospitality business for the first time. America's first West Elm Hotel has broken ground in downtown Indianapolis' architectural landmark Coca-Cola bottling plant. Restoration Hardware will open a 14-room concept hotel in Manhattan's Meatpacking District at 55 Gansevoort that will double as its Restoration Hardware showroom.