AC Hotel to be built next to Bonstelle Theatre

Roxbury Group plans to build a 153-room, 10-story AC Hotel in the vacant lot adjacent to the historic Bonstelle Theatre.

The theatre, currently owned by Wayne State University, is being leased long-term to the Detroit-based development company, according to The Detroit News. Roxbury has signed an agreement with Marriott to build a hotel that connects to the historic theatre through a 4,000-square-foot glass conservatory.

The hotel will be the first AC Hotel in southeast Michigan, and the second in the state. The AC Hotels are a chain owned by Marriott, known for their sleek style and abundance of public spaces. Its Brush Park location will allow guests to be within walking distance to much of Midtown.

Along with the construction of the hotel, the development company also plans to renovate the interior and exterior of the Bonstelle Theatre. The project, totaling an estimated $46 million, is expected to start this summer and be finished in late 2021.

The Bonstelle Theatre has stood on Woodward for over a century and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982. The building first served as a synagogue, Temple Beth-El, by the famous architect and congregation member, Albert Kahn. In 1925, Jessie Bonstelle bought the building and renovated it into a theatre for plays. Then Wayne State bought the building in the ‘50s and renamed it after the former owner.

During renovations, the exterior of the theatre is to be restored to its original 1903 Albert Kahn design, while the interior is to have a 1925 redesign. After restorations, the theatre is to be used for hotel events and will be available to rent out.

The project comes at a precarious time for construction in Detroit. A recent Metro Times story revealed that many apartment and condo projects were scrapped or delayed because of rising construction costs.

Executive vice president of Roxbury group, James Van Dyke, spoke with Metro Times about the trend of abandoned construction projects in Detroit, claiming the fault to be a "perfect storm." When it comes to rebuilding Detroit, Van Dyke explained, "It's going to take more than a generation.”

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