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DETROIT-The Pick-Fort Shelby Hotel, a once-dead tower in the city’s Downtown, will be reborn sooner than expected. While developers originally estimated early 2009 as the open date for the $82 million renovation into a hotel and apartment building, company officials are announcing that the hotel will begin renting rooms Dec. 1.

The 92-year-old property, which has been vacant for 10 of those years, is being redeveloped by a team led by Emmett Moten, the former chief of development under former Mayor Coleman Young. Originally the project was to include more than 60 apartments, but the number of units has reportedly been knocked down to 52.

In the 22-story building, the bottom 10 floors will be the Hilton Doubletree Guest Suites Fort Shelby. Plans also changed here, says a spokesman for the hotel. “We now have 203 guest suites going in, one of the VIP suites was changed into a concierge lounge on the 10th floor, that can sit as many as 70 people,” the spokesman tells GlobeSt.com.

He says the developer is now starting on the interior walls, and that all the infrastructure is in place. “There’s one working elevator now, and they’re putting in the other ones as we speak,” the spokesman says. The initial rate for a hotel room will be for about $209 per night, he says.

The Doubletree Web site is already reporting that the 21,000 sf of conference space at the all-suite hotel is certified by the International Association of Conference Centers, though the spokesman tells GlobeSt.com that the designation has not yet been given out. “We’re doing things such as making the acoustic and lighting in the conference rooms engineered to the highest degree possible,” he says.

A number of new hotels have either already opened in the Downtown, such as the MGM Grand and Motor City casino hotels, with 350 rooms each, or are about to open, such as the Westin Book Cadillac set for an October ready date. The Doubletree spokesman wouldn’t comment on projected demand, but says there’s already lots of small businesses booked for conference space into 2010.

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