Detroit celebrated the reopening of the Book Cadillac hotel in 2008. The circa-1924 property, designed by Louis Kamper and vacant since 1984, was renovated at a cost of $190 million. What was once a symbol of the city’s decline, is now a symbol of hope and rebirth. The Westin Book Cadillac Hotel and Residences features 453 rooms and 64 upper-floor condos.
Time, weather and vandals took their toll on the building which was nearly demolished several years ago. Cleveland developer John Ferchill spearheaded the effort to save the cherished building. The Detroit News has the public reaction to the unveiling after a two-year renovation:
“It is just marvelous,” said Kathie Walker, 68, smiling as she recalled The Book of her childhood, back when it was the city’s landmark hotel.
Others, such as Kevin Selkerman, 38, of Royal Oak, walked through slowly, taking as many photos as they could with wireless phones.
“It used to be one of those buildings that you would drive by and think, damn, that must have been really cool back when, but, now it just kind of breaks your heart,” Selkerman said. Monday was the opposite of heart break. As Selkerman walked through the sleek Motor Bar, a representative from Westin Hotels explained that the room — like the entire 1924 building — was an empty shell for decades, where every piece of furniture and flourish had to be recreated.
The 32-story structure was the World’s tallest hotel when it opened and is listed on the National Registry of Historic Buildings. Hotel rooms start at around $200 a night, condos were originally priced from the mid-$200,000’s to more than $1 million.
Residences are one or two bedroom condominiums and the three bedroom penthouses are spread over three-levels. Residents of the Book Cadillac have access to the hotel’s services and amenities including a swimming pool, state-of-the-art fitness center, spa, and business center. Valet parking, housekeeping, in-room dining and 24-hour concierge services are also available.
Detroit was able to save the Book Cadillac, but lost its Statler Hotel in 2005. The hotel was demolished after sitting vacant for thirty years.