PAST AND PRESENT: Adjacency to a historic hotel will help Fort Shelby Tower Apartments lease its 54 apartments and two

penthouse units.
Marx Layne & Co. PAST AND PRESENT: Adjacency to a historic hotel will help Fort Shelby Tower Apartments lease its 54 apartments and two penthouse units.

Cast as “the nicest place in the state of Michigan,” Fort Shelby Tower Apartments has just begun leasing 54 apartments and two penthouses, according to Scott Allen, president of Fourmidable, the project’s Bingham Farms, Mich.-based property management agent.

What really sets the Detroit project apart, says developer Rich Curto, is that it shares a lobby with the newly renovated DoubleTree Hotel in a historic pair of towers. One of the towers, the Fort Shelby Hotel expansion, was designed by late architect Albert Kahn in 1927. The original hotel dates back to 1916.

“In today’s marketplace, having a hotel paired up with residential helps residential, especially as rough as the rental market is,” says Curto of Detroit-based MCP Development. “We are able to get a prime rate.”

The apartments range from 939 square feet to 1,848 square feet with rents ranging from $1,630 to $3,185 per month. The two-story penthouse “sky suites” are 2,097 square feet and 2,231 square feet and priced at $4,120 and $4,355 per month, respectively.

Residents’ monthly rents include access to the hotel’s amenities, including valet parking; 24-hour dining; uniformed doormen; and concierge, housekeeping, and dry cleaning services.

Although Fort Shelby was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1983, the $90 million project was gutted inside and the Neogeorgian exterior was spruced up with elements such as energy-efficient windows, according to project architect Robb Burroughs of Hobbs + Black Architects in Ann Arbor, Mich.

“It is certainly more complex to present a new concept into a historic framework,” Burroughs says. “It took lots of patience to get it to work. You can’t start with a preconceived notion. You have to be extremely flexible with a project like this.