For more than a decade, the Strathmore Hotel on West Alexandrine has sat empty. Around it, Midtown has started to flourish. Great Lakes Coffee is across the street. On the same block is the Union Street restaurant, and within steps is the heart of a revitalized midtown.
The vacant eight story structure has watched all of this happen around it, and its now time for the Strathmore Hotel to come back thanks to a public-private partnership between Midtown Inc. and McCormack Baron Salazar based in St. Louis.
In about 18 months, it will re-open as the Strathmore Apartments. The plans call for a $28 million renovation including 129 units and 2,000 square-feet of ground-floor commercial space. Construction in earnest should begin in the next 30 days, once the environmental remediation, which is currently underway, is complete.
Detroit-based Hamilton Anderson Associates has been hired as the project architect. The apartments they are designing will include one and two bedroom units. Midtown Detroit Inc. is handling the pre-leasing.
One of the unique things about this project is the significant set-aside for affordable housing, a cause championed by Midtown, Inc.
40 percent of the residential units will be offered for affordable housing rates while the other 60 percent will be market-rate.
“The redevelopment of a building as significant as the Strathmore is a great boost for Detroit no matter how you look at it,” said Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan. “Our development team chose to get behind this project because it fits perfectly into our commitment to provide Detroiters the opportunity to live in any neighborhood in the city they want. With its significant number of affordable housing units, the Strathmore helps to make even a hot property like Midtown accessible to an average Detroit resident.”
There were a variety of funders to make the project possible, as Detroit still has issues around getting access to capital even though the market in very hot right now. They included the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development; Michigan State Housing Development Authority; Michigan Economic Development Corporation; City of Detroit; U.S. Bank; Invest Detroit; Detroit Development Fund; Enterprise Community Partners; Ford Foundation; The Kresge Foundation; Hudson-Webber Foundation and Midtown Detroit, Inc.
“The Strathmore is an exciting and significant housing development for Midtown, and we are incredibly grateful for our partners who have worked tirelessly to get this project over the finish line,” said Sue Mosey, President of Midtown Detroit, Inc.
Here’s A Little History
Originally built in 1924, the historic Strathmore Hotel is in the Willis-Selden Historic District, which is one of the largest concentrations of architecturally significant, late 19th and early 20th century buildings of mixed uses existing in Detroit.
The district’s residential and commercial building stock reflect the history of the area, from its development as a streetcar community in the last part of the 19th century through the intensification of its land use in the early 20th century. In the early 20th century, the Willis-Selden Historic District became one of the most important areas of suppliers to the auto industry and a prime location for the influx of people seeking jobs in the manufacturing industry.
As an apartment hotel, this building served the short-term traveler as well as the long-term residents by providing residential dwellings with services customarily found at hotels such as dining and limited retail. The structure operated as an apartment hotel until 1964 and was then renovated into 187 apartment units and was occupied as such until 2004. The future Strathmore residential development is expected to be complete in 2016.