Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Fort Shelby Hotel to re-open as Doubletree

Let's cross our fingers that all the work has been worth it. After a couple of years of extensive refurbishing, the old Fort Shelby Hotel in Detroit is about ready to open again as part of the Doubletree chain. For anyone not familiar with the hotel, it's located just across the street from WDIV between Lafayette and Fort, not far from the Detroit Free Press, The Detroit News, the Anchor Bar, Joe Louis Arena and Cobo Hall.

As someone who's watching most of the redevelopment downtown center around the Foxtown or Campus Martius areas, its nice to see some of the attention find its way down Fort St.

Old-timers might remember that the original Fort Shelby Hotel, which closed in the '80s, I believe, about the time the rest of Detroit did, housed the Anchor Bar. The bar has since moved about a block-and-a-half up Fort St.

The new Doubletree, from what I hear, is supposed to open Dec. 15, and watching the day-by-day reconstruction has been really cool. I don't believe the entire building is ready for occupants, but enough is that they're planning on sticking to their Dec. 15 opening. From outside, some of the street-level additions look cool, and sure will be nice for those of us who work in the neighborhood. I've heard that a bar, restaurant and coffee shop will be opening.

If you get a chance, check it out some time. The picture I've included was taken back in October, and a lot of work has been done since. They've re-paved the sidewalk out front and added a large awning facing Lafayette. To me, the big difference is seeing a building with all of its windows in place.