Detroit’s historic Book Cadillac, which opened in 1924 as the world’s tallest hotel, endured years of neglect as it remained vacant since the 1980s. Exposed to the elements for decades, the decorative plaster and historic Juliet balconies lay in mounds on the floor of the grand ballroom. Two of the three basements were fully submerged under water; the hotel was losing 500 gallons of water per day. Squatters had broken windows, spray painted graffiti over historic decoration and stolen copper piping and chandeliers.
Epstein, in conjunction with Forrest Perkins, was entrusted by the owner, Kimberly Clark Corporation, and the Detroit Economic Development Corporation to restore the facility to its elegant original state and reposition the building into a luxury hotel, condominium development and conference center. Together, we developed the conceptual design and program development. Moving forward, there was a change of ownership and the final design was entrusted to the Ferchill Group, who ultimately completed the project utilizing Epstein's concept and program.
The building, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, was completely restored to its former glory, including the Venetian and Italian Garden Ballrooms, which were both restored using little more than historic photos to guide the design. The exterior of the building was renovated and restored, including the historic stone statuary. Windows were replaced to match the historic profile while meeting modern energy code requirements.
The Ferchill Group completed the project in 2008 and opened the hotel as the Westin Book Cadillac, featuring 453 guestrooms, including 35 suites, which offer incredible views of the skyline and Detroit River. It boasts the largest event and conference center in the area at over 35,000 square feet. Five restaurants and three bar-lounges round out the luxury guest experience. The completed project also includes 67 luxury condominiums that occupy the top 8 floors.