The vacant Sears department store in downtown Wyandotte is on its way to becoming a boutique hotel.
The owners of The Hotel Sterling
in Monroe plan to spend $2.5 million to renovate the inside and out of the three-story building on Biddle Avenue, keeping in tune with the historic, cosmopolitan style of this hotel in downtown Monroe, says Natalie Rankine, director of the Wyandotte Downtown Development Authority. The renovation began last month and will be completed in two phases. Opening day is expected in late 2014, she says.
The first phase will cover the exterior, the basement and the first and second floors of the building, turning them into 21 hotel suites, a lobby, business center, conference and banquet facility and hotel offices. The second phase will make over the third floor and add 12 suites as the market dictates.
City and state economic development officials see the hotel's potential to improve the business climate, increase commercial investment and create jobs.
The Wyandotte DDA purchased the property in 2012 for $530,000 and sold it to The Hotel Sterling owners Ken and Rebecca Wickenheiser for $350,000. With donations from the Downriver Area Brownfield Consortium to help pay for property cleaning, the DDA will spend about $200,000 on the redevelopment.
"We are excited to embark upon this project with the Wickenheisers. Ken and Rebecca have an incredible knowledge of architectural design and understanding of historic preservation," says Rankine. "These traits combined with the great business model they've already developed for the Hotel Sterling Monroe will make this project a perfect fit for our downtown."
The Michigan Economic Development Corp. put in $445,000 toward the hotel to seal the deal with the hotel owners and bring investment and jobs to the city.
Rankine says construction will require 20 temporary jobs and running the hotel will create 5 permanent jobs.
Source: Natalie Rankine, director, Wyandotte Downtown Development Authority
Writer: Kim North Shine