Detroit Waters opener

Why here?
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.

 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.

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.


Local Update

 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.

Longtime MGM executive Michael Neubecker, a native Michigander, returned to his home state last fall to become the new president and COO of the MGM Grand Detroit. The 400-room property has more than 30,000 square feet of event space.

Two new Tom Doak-designed golf courses are creating a buzz in Michigan. Newly opened in Roscommon is The Loop at Forest Dunes Golf Club, and opening soon in Augusta is Stoatin Brae, one of six courses at Gull Lake View Golf Club & Resort.

Meeting Hotels: Properties in metro Detroit include the 1,329-room Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center; 773-room The Edward; 453-room Westin Book Cadillac Detroit; 404-room Westin Hotel-Detroit Metropolitan Airport; 400-room Greektown Casino-Hotel; 400-room MGM Grand Detroit; 400 room MotorCity Casino Hotel; 388-room Westin Southfield Detroit & Executive Meeting Cen­ter; 367-room Crowne Plaza-Detroit Downtown Riverfront; 359-room Sheraton Detroit Metro Airport Hotel; 350-room Detroit Marriott Troy; 347-room DoubleTree by Hilton-DearbornDetroit; 308-room The Henry, Autograph Collection; 290-room Marriott Auburn Hills Pontiac; 274-room Radisson Hotel-Detroit Metro Airport; 260-room Courtyard by Marriott-Detroit Downtown, 251-room Embassy Suites-Troy Auburn Hills, and 250-room Somerset Inn.

To find and compare more area hotels and meeting spaces, as well as send RFPs, go to mcvenues.com.

Convention Centers: Cobo Center; meeting space, 2.4 million square feet; exhibit space, 723,000 square feet; number of meeting rooms, 130. (313) 877-8777

Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi; exhibit space, 215,000 square feet; number of meeting rooms, 19. (248) 348-5600

Airport Transit:
Detroit Metro Airport, about 21 miles southwest of downtown Detroit. Metro Cab taxi and Metro Cars sedans to downtown start at $47. Uber and Lyft both operate in Detroit.

Taxes: Sales tax, 6% Cobo Center tax, 6%; Detroit Metro CVB assessment, 2%; stadium tax, 1%; total tax on hotel rooms, 15%

Group Venues: Whether your goals are traditional, educational or inspirational, The Henry Ford and its 250 acres of history and innovation offer planners a truly memorable setting. Highlights: the Henry Ford Museum, sprawling Greenfield Village, a 300-guest ballroom, and a multitude of venues surrounded by stunning architecture and national treasures. (313) 982-6220.

Detroit's Belle Isle promises 982 acres of enticements, including the Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory. In spring and summer, expect a pallet of lush lawns, greenery, gardens and open space. The facility can comfortably accommodate private groups up to 150 people. (313) 821-5428

Built in 1928, Detroit's stylish Fox Theatre, said to be the largest surviving movie palace of the 1920s, has staged decades of acclaimed acts and performances. The 4,800-seat National Historic Landmark is at the epicenter of attraction-packed District Detroit. (313) 471-3099

Contact: Meet Detroit, (303) 892-1112