DETROIT—This city’s downtown has seen a great deal of activity over the past couple of years. Companies have started resettling in the CBD, buying and then opening up many underused or even vacant properties, filling offices, and the streets, with thousands of workers. And Detroit-based Kraemer Design Group, PLC now says that it is on track to complete the architecture and interior design of the downtown’s historic David Whitney Building. They plan to reopen it in December as a mixed-use facility which features the Aloft Detroit at the David Whitney hotel.

Similar projects are underway in the CBD. As reported in, Chicago-based Aparium Hotel Group recently launched a plan to renovate and redevelop the historic Detroit Fire Department Headquarters into a 100-room upscale independent hotel. Aparium officials said they, together with Detroit developer Walter Cohen, will spend $28 million to transform the 62,910-square-foot space at 234-250 W. Larned St., into a hotel that celebrates the city’s past and its future. Named the Foundation Hotel, Aparium plans to open for business in late 2015.

The David Whitney Building, built in 1915 and designed by the architectural firm Daniel Burnham & Co., was once one of the city’s most recognizable skyscrapers. The 19-story Neo-Renaissance building has undergone a two-year, $94.5 million historic renovation that has completely restored both interior and exterior architectural elements, including its four-story atrium.

The 136-room boutique hotel, opening December 11, will occupy the lower floors and 105 residential apartments will occupy the rest. It will also feature the Grand Cirque Brasserie—a high-end restaurant, 6,670-square-feet of meeting and banquet spaces and ground-level retail.

“The David Whitney Building is a crown jewel in downtown Detroit,” says KDG principal Bob Kraemer. “We have been very careful to preserve the same sense of grandeur that it once evoked and instill a newfound sense of pride in the Whitney, celebrating its classical architectural features while repurposing the space so it can once again be a focal point of the city.”

“We’ve completed designs for numerous other hotels across the country, but the Aloft Detroit has afforded us the opportunity to showcase our home city in a unique and beautiful way, juxtaposing old with new, all while maintaining Starwood’s established brand standards,” says Heather McKeon, interiors director at KDG.