Detroit Statler Hotel

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Detroit Statler Hotel
Detroit Statler Hotel, c. 1915
General information
Location1539 Washington Boulevard
Detroit, Michigan
Coordinates42°20′08″N 83°03′06″W / 42.33542°N 83.05159°W / 42.33542; -83.05159Coordinates: 42°20′08″N 83°03′06″W / 42.33542°N 83.05159°W / 42.33542; -83.05159
Construction started1914
OpeningFeb. 6, 1915
CostUS$ 3.5 million
Roof70.7 m (232 ft)
Technical details
Floor count18
Floor area47,845 m2 (515,000 sq ft)
Design and construction
ArchitectGeorge B. Post

The Detroit Statler Hotel (also known as the Detroit Hilton Hotel) was a building located at 1539 Washington Boulevard across from Grand Circus Park between the David Whitney Building and the Hotel Tuller in Downtown Detroit, Michigan. In addition to Washington Boulevard, the hotel also fronted Bagley Street and Park Avenue.


The hotel was designed for Statler Hotels by George B. Post and Louis Rorimer in the Georgian architectural style, with English Renaissance Revival roots evident.[1] It consisted of 18 floors: sixteen above grade and two basement floors. Construction began on the original 800-room portion in 1914 and was completed in 1915.[2]

Harry Houdini stayed at the hotel in October 1926, during his last engagement at the nearby Garrick Theater.

The Detroit Statler became part of the Hilton Hotels chain in 1954 along with all other former Statler Hotels. Hilton proceeded to remodel and modernize the hotel's interior during the 1960s. In 1974, Hilton ceased their management, and the structure was renamed the Detroit Heritage Hotel until it was abandoned in 1975.

After sitting vacant for 30 years, the structure was eventually demolished following approval by the Detroit Historic District Commission. Demolition of the building floor by floor began in August 2005 and was completed in time for the Super Bowl XL;[2] the process took months due to the hotel's strong concrete structure. During the demolition process, a vacant four-story building once occupied by the Automobile Club of Michigan also known as the DAIIE (Detroit Automobile Club Inter-Insurance Exchange) building on a neighboring lot caught fire. The fire destroyed much of the structure's roof and upper floor. The cause of the blaze was determined to be hot metal material that had been dropped from the Statler Hotel onto the Automobile Club building's roof. The building's structure required the onsite treatment of 750,000 gallons of PCB-contaminated water following demolition.

Vacant lot where the Detroit Statler Hotel once stood

2014 Apartment Proposal[edit]

On 26 March 2014, a 200-250 unit apartment building was announced to be built on the former site of the Statler Hotel. At the time of its proposal, this building would have been one of the first entirely newly constructed apartments in downtown Detroit since the early 1990s (excluding apartments built from converted offices). Detroit City Council gave the project a go ahead after approval [3] The proposal is vastly under scale for its surroundings and in a time when development downtown is occurring at a pace not seen since the 1920s due to an increase in demand for downtown living. The property is owned by the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation and some critics have stated that the land should go to a developer that is capable of producing a larger, higher quality building in scale with the value of the property's location.[4]


  • A lawsuit by preservationists temporarily delayed the city's plans to demolish the former hotel building.
  • The hotel had proven so popular that a 200-room addition was added onto the back of the hotel along Washington Boulevard.
  • According to the original blueprints, one of the penthouse roof levels lies at 226' above the street, and Sanborn Maps list the other at 232' above the street. The full structural height is unclear.
  • The hotel was situated within six feet of the Detroit People Mover elevated railway.[5]


  1. ^ Hill, Eric J. and John Gallagher (2002). AIA Detroit: The American Institute of Architects Guide to Detroit Architecture. Wayne State University Press. ISBN 0-8143-3120-3. P. 68.
  2. ^ a b Statler Hotel. Historic Detroit. Retrieved on December 9, 2013.
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ "Statler Hilton Hotel - Total Demolition" (PDF). Homrich Demolition. Retrieved September 23, 2013.

Further reading[edit]

  • Hill, Eric J. and John Gallagher (2002). AIA Detroit: The American Institute of Architects Guide to Detroit Architecture. Wayne State University Press. ISBN 0-8143-3120-3.

External links[edit]