By: Ian Thibodeau

DETROIT – The design firm behind multiple historic restorations and partnerships in Detroit recently won three state awards for its work on Detroit’s David Whitney Building.

The $94.5 million redevelopment of the 100-year-old downtown Detroit building wrapped up last fall.

Kraemer Design Group led the historic restoration and renovation, which preserved the marble, mahogany and terracotta that makes up the opulent grand rotunda and main lobby of the Daniel Burnham-designed building.

The design firm was awarded The Michigan State Housing Development Authority’s Governor’s Award for historic preservation, The Michigan Chapter of International Interior Design Association’s annual design award and the Michigan Historic Preservation Network’s Tax Credit Project Award.]

The massive two-year project brought the 19-story building in Grand Circus Park back in a big way, restoring the interior and exterior of the building.

Kraemer operated as the historic consultant, architect of record and interior designer on the project.

The building was vacant for years. It now functions as a mixed-use development, with 108 high-end apartment units, a 136-room boutique hotel and ground-floor retail.

The apartments, starting at $1,000 to rent, will range in size from 569 to 1,876 square feet, and come in one-, two- and three-bedroom formats. All units will come equipped with granite countertops, custom wood cabinets, hardwood floors and stainless steel appliances.

The 250,000-square-foot David Whitney Building stands across Woodward Avenue from the Broderick Tower, a 36-floor building that was part of a $53 million, residential redevelopment. It opened in fall 2012.

The David Whitney Building project is being funded with a mix of historic, brownfield and new market tax credits, as well as money from the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation, Invest Detroit, Wayne County, Michigan Historic Preservation Network and the Michigan Strategic Fund.

The project is getting $8.5 million in state grants, coming in the form of a $7.5 million performance-based loan and a $1 million Community Revitalization Program performance-based grant.

According to a release, the Governor’s Award is “given in recognition of outstanding historic preservation achievements that ‘transform underutilized historic structures into vital economic assets’, exemplified by the conversion of the empty David Whitney Building to a thriving mixed use property containing a hotel and residential units.”

“The David Whitney building leveraged several of our firm’s key disciplines; historic, residential, hospitality and commercial expertise. We are so honored to receive such meaningful awards for a project that our team worked so tirelessly on,” KDG Principal Bob Kraemer said. “For our team of historic enthusiasts and passionate Detroiters, it has been a privilege to restore this nearly forgotten relic, to a once again majestic focal point of the City’s thriving new landscape.”

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