Menswear designer John Varvatos, a Detroit native who launched his clothing line in 2000, will open a store this spring in downtown Detroit in a Dan Gilbert-owned building.

Varvatos will open in 4,000 square feet at 1500 Woodward Ave., the former Wright Kay building that housed Wright Kay Jewelers, which Gilbert bought in 2012 for an undis- closed price. Built in 1891, the building has six stories and sits at the southeast corner of Woodward Avenue and John R Street.

A Wednesday morning news release from Gilbert’s Bedrock Real Estate Services LLC calls the store “the first high-end designer fashion retailer in decades to open a permanent storefront in downtown Detroit.”

“For me, this is much more than a business opportunity. It is also about changing the complexion of a great city and creating a different kind of legacy,” Varvatos said in the news release. “Detroit is well past its tipping point and I’m thrilled to be playing a role in the city’s ongoing transformation.”

Gilbert owns more than 60 proper- ties—buildings and parking structures— totaling more than 9 million square feet and has invested more than $1.3 billion acquiring and renovating the properties, mostly in downtown Detroit.

According to his official Facebook page, Varvatos received the Perry Ellis Award for Menswear Designer in 2000 and Menswear Designer of the Year in 2001 and 2005 from the Council of Fashion Designers of America. He also received Designer of the Year honors from GQ magazine in 2007.

Gilbert, the founder and chairman of Detroit-based Quicken Loans Inc. and Rock Ventures LLC, said this will be Varvatos’ first store in the Midwest.

According to Varvatos’ website, there are 16 other stores worldwide, including in New York, San Francisco, London and Bangkok.

The Varvatos store will bring the build- ing to 100 percent occupancy.

Other tenants are Wright & Co. restaurant, Hudson Edit/Avalon Films, Neumann/Smith Architecture and C/B/H, a technology consulting firm, according to Robin Schwartz, public relations director for Bedrock.

Detroit-based Kraemer Design Group and Varvatos’ in-house design team will design the new retail space.

About Kraemer Design Group
Detroit-based Kraemer Design Group, PLC
(KDG) is a leading, high-end architecture, interior design, and creative firm with nearly 20 years of experience in historic renovation and comprehensive architectural consulting. Serving the commercial, multi-family residential, hospitality and retail industries, KDG is the industry leader in Outovation; combining highly technical industry experience with unparalleled creativity to create exclusive design solutions.