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.

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