Architectural Rejuvenation at the Inn on Ferry Street

One of the practical examples of the activities of the University Center Cultural Association is the renovation of the Inn on Ferry Street. This complex of six historic buildings that today makes up the Inn on Ferry Street came under ownership by the Detroit Institute of Arts in the 1970s when the buildings were mostly used for music lessons and storage.

The breakfast room at the Inn on Ferry Street

 

Finally plans were made to restore these unique buildings and to find a more appropriate use for them. A decision was made to turn these buildings into a 42-room boutique hotel. But renovating more than 40 rooms would be a tough economic challenge and required substantial amounts of money. In excess of $4 million of the project were funded through loans, and another $4+ million were raised through various grants. In total, more than twenty-four sources of finances were tapped into to put together the financing for this large-scale project.

A perfect place to catch a few rays of sunshine

 

Assistance for this project came from one of Detroit’s most fervent supporters. Mr. Richard Manoogian, the owner of Masco Corporation, a Fortune 500 corporation that manufactures and distributes building and home improvement products, made available deep discounts on building supplies and interior décor products. The renovations on the six buildings that were to make up the Inn on Ferry Street started in 2000 and were finally completed in 2001. The property opened in November of 2001, just shortly after the 911 terrorist attacks had caused a severe downturn in the entire tourism industry. The next three years were very tough, but in 2004 finally occupancy rose to 74%.

My private bathroom

 

Today the Inn on Ferry Street features 42 unique and gorgeously designed guest rooms, a large breakfast room (breakfast is included free of charge), a business centre with complimentary meeting space for guests and great common areas in all the buildings that allow the guests to socialize and relax.

Strawberry waffles for breakfast

 

The Inn on Ferry Street provides a great Midtown location with excellent amenities for leisure and business travellers. In addition to the business centre, it provides free wireless Internet access, a free shuttle service covering the Midtown and Downtown areas, valet service and room service. A big breakfast buffet is available every day from 6 am to 10 am at no extra charge, and coffees, teas and fresh fruit are available during the day.

A generous breakfast table

 

I was staying in a two bedroom suite with a separate sitting room in the Raymond C. Smith Carriage House that was built in 1892 and holds seven guest bedrooms. The Scott House is the main building of the complex since it is the location of the reception area, the breakfast room and the business centre. It also features 3 guest bedrooms.

Every room is unique

 

The Pungs House was built in 1892 for a railway magnate and holds nine uniquely decorated guest bedrooms while the Owen House dates back to 1887 and used to belong to the owner of a dry goods firm. It consists of seven luxurious bedrooms and two large executive suites. The main floor holds a glamorous parlour with a baby grand piano and two fireplaces.

Another historically inspired sitting area

 

The Rohm House finally was constructed in 1888 for the president of the Detroit Carriage Company. Nine guest bedrooms are located here and the popular second floor suite offers ultimate luxury with its Jacuzzi tub, private balcony and Asian influenced décor. The Inn on Ferry Street offers a great location in Detroit’s Cultural Center and is a prime example of some of the architectural rejuvenation that has been happening in various parts of the city.

The Inn on Ferry Street

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Given its complicated history, Detroit today is a very fascinating city. Despite past and current problems, Detroit has many different vibrant communities, each driven by local urbanists who love their city and their neighbourhoods. Sue Mosey is one of Detroit’s foremost leaders of successful community redevelopment and has played a huge role in creating the new face of Midtown Detroit’s Cultural Center. And the Inn on Ferry Street is a prime example of outstanding historic preservation and state-of-the-art refunctioning of properties that are definitely worth saving.

Statue at the Detroit Institute of Arts

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