Detroit City Council to consider $20M Wurlitzer Building rehab next week

A proposed $20 million rehab of the long-vacant Wurlitzer Building will be taken up for consideration by Detroit City Council next week.

The proposal by Brooklyn-based HM Ventures Group LLC calls for an extensive rehabilition of the historic building into a 100-room hotel, a street-level cafe and bar, a second-floor restaurant, and a rooftop lounge, according to documents submitted to city council. The project, if green-lighted, would create 60 full-time jobs, and 60 full-time construction jobs, documents say.

To facilitate the project, the Detroit Brownfield Redevelopment Authority (DBRA) — a public body operated by the private Detroit Economic Growth Corporation, which has negotiated deals on behalf of Detroit since the 1970s — approved a plan to reimburse HM Venture Group $1.89 million in tax-increment finance (TIF) revenue. In a nutshell, TIF revenue is the increase in property taxes generated as a result of new investment.

"The long-vacant building requires substantial investment to stabilize its crumbling exterior and return it to economic use," HM Ventures Group wrote in a project proposal submitted to council. The development company submitted a series of letters of support from nearby companies for the project, including M-1 Rail, Henry the Hatter, and Small Plates Detroit.

If approved, the developer estimates the hotel would open by September 2016.

The DBRA has asked City Council in a letter to set a public hearing during its meeting Tuesday for the project on April 30.

About The Author

Ryan Felton

Ryan Felton was born in 1990 and spent the majority of his childhood growing up in Livonia. In 2009, after a short stint at Eastern Michigan University, he moved to Detroit where he has remained ever since. After graduating from Wayne State University’s journalism program, he went on to work as a staff writer...
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