The Great Lakes State is rife with unique attractions, singular resort destinations, rich culture and breathtaking natural beauty, including the world's longest freshwater coastline. Detroit (pictured) is helping to lead the way with big-ticket rebuilds, major attraction renovations and inner-city investments.GRAND RAPIDS ROUNDUP• Gerald R. Ford International Airport
is undergoing a two-phase, $45 million revamp that will update security screenings and create new retail and concession space.•
A new Hilton Garden Inn
is scheduled to open in May 2017, minutes from the airport. The 144-room hotel is adjacent to Calvin College and will offer a restaurant, a fitness room, a pool and five meeting rooms.FRESHENED UP
The 131-room Weber's Boutique Hotel
in Ann Arbor has completed a $2 million renovation of its guest rooms, meeting facilities and ballroom. The property has 9,300 square feet of meeting space.
Downtown Detroit's major convention facility, Cobo Center,
now offers 723,000 square feet of exhibit space following a just-completed, six-year, $279 million expansion and renovation. New upgrades include a TV broadcast studio with satellite uplink, a 50,000-square-foot exterior plaza, a 40,000-square-foot grand ballroom, and a 30,000-square-foot glass-enclosed atrium with dramatic views of the Detroit River and the Windsor, Ontario, skyline.• Little Caesars Arena,
primed as the new home of the NHL Detroit Red Wings and NBA Detroit Pistons, is scheduled to open in September. The $627 million, 19,600-seat complex will feature state-of-the-art technology, experiential fan amenities and active community spaces. It also will anchor the 50-square-block District Detroit with its array of businesses, parks, restaurants, bars, theaters and event venues.•
Detroit's long-awaited M-1 Rail
streetcar line is almost ready for riders. The 3.3-mile QLINE will travel along Woodward Avenue between Congress Street and West Grand Boulevard, and will connect various popular stops within the historic North End, Midtown and Downtown neighborhoods. The 10-year, $140 million endeavor is set to debut early this year.•
Aparium Hotel Group and partner Walter Cohen are investing $28 million to redesign the historic Detroit Fire Department Headquarters into the new Foundation Hotel.
The 100-room boutique property is across the street from Cobo Center and scheduled to open this spring.•
Marriott is renovating the Motor City's long-vacant, 14-story Metropolitan Building, built in the 1920s as a center for diamond cutters and goldsmiths, and will convert it into the 110-room Element Detroit.
Opening day is planned for summer 2018.•
The venerable 14-story Wurlitzer Building
is undergoing a makeover to the tune of $20 million to transform the landmark into an independent hotel. Originally opened in 1926 to house the musical-instrument manufacturer but vacant since 1982, it will rebrand in 2018 and feature a restaurant, a bar, a café, and space for events and shops.•
Furniture and home-décor retailer West Elm is developing a new 120-room hotel in the city's historic Midtown. The West Elm Hotel
will incorporate neighborhood housing and retail space, and is one of five West Elm-flagged properties scheduled to open nationwide in 2018.•
Following a stunning $200 million renovation, the circa-1924 Italian Renaissance Westin Book Cadillac Detroit
has been reborn in the heart of Motor City. The chic 453-room landmark offers fine and casual dining, a fitness studio, a spa, an indoor pool and 30,000 square feet of meeting space, plus easy access to Campus Martius Park, Comerica Park, Orchestra Hall, the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History and other local attractions.•
A new professional baseball stadium has opened in nearby Utica. The 4,000-seat Jimmy John's Field,
host to the independent United Shore Professional Baseball League, is designed as an expansive outdoor entertainment venue ideal for corporate outings.