10 Detroit building projects of 2023

There were some big successes, a few major rehab starts and several demolitions in 2023 in the realm of old and historic Detroit buildings.

One of the most striking redevelopment projects to get underway this year involves the 120-year-old Bonstelle Theatre at Woodward and Eliot Street in Midtown, several blocks north of Little Caesars Arena.

This summer, Detroit-based developer Roxbury Group launched an exterior and interior restoration for the domed theater building, which was last used by Wayne State University’s performing arts programs.

The Bonstelle Theatre stands tall on 424 Woodward Ave. in Detroit on Wednesday, December 6, 2023. The theater is being restored, along with development of a new 10-story AC Hotel next door..

The restoration is part of a new development next door to the Bonstelle by Roxbury and Atlanta-based Peachtree Group of a 10-story, 154-room Marriott International AC Hotel. The hotel building construction is underway.

The Bonstelle Theatre on Woodward Avenue, as it looked in 2014.

The rehabbed Bonstelle will connect to the hotel and be used as special events space. Both the new hotel and rehabbed theater could be done by next September, said David Di Rita, principal of the Roxbury Group.

Work crews recently exposed the original entrance and front columns of the Bonstelle. The front of the theater had been covered up by cinder blocks decades ago.

A rendering of the future AC Hotel in Midtown Detroit that will incorporate the Bonstelle Theatre.

“Those columns are now coming back into view, with all of that beautiful detail work over the doorways,” Di Rita said. “This is in historic preservation realms, kind of a dream project. To us, it’s like opening an early Christmas gift.”

The Bonstelle dates to 1903 and was designed by the prolific Detroit architect Albert Kahn. It wasn’t originally a theater, but rather was built as the Temple Beth El synagogue.

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