Despite being the host city for more than 500,000 people who attend the first North American International Auto Show that takes place each year, Detroit has been held back on the convention and trade-show front by having just 5,000 guest rooms within its relatively compact downtown. (The Detroit metro area has 45,000 total guest rooms.)
But in a boost to the city’s business-group possibilities, Huntington Place Convention Center will be renovated and gain an adjacent business-focused hotel of 600 to 800 guest rooms likely by the end of 2025, thanks to a deal between developer Sterling Group and the Detroit Regional Convention Authority.
According to this article in The Detroit News, Claude Molinari, board chair of the authority and president and CEO of Visit Detroit, said the overall plan includes loading-dock improvements to the center that will also allow the creation of a promenade corridor providing access to the riverfront behind the convention center. Also, “it's a little bit fluid right now, but we're looking at adding a second ballroom to the convention center because the current ballroom is in high demand, and we have to turn away a lot of business,” Molinari noted. “And in exchange for what we're doing, Sterling Group will be building an upper-upscale hotel” attached to Huntington Place.
Molinari told the newspaper that “what's happening now is that there are events choosing not to come here simply because they would have to shuttle their attendees by bus, and that's not optimal when you have [competing cities] with more guest rooms connected to the convention center.”
More Detroit Hospitality Developments
The coming hotel at Huntington Place will follow several other projects adding guest rooms in and near downtown. Specifically, the 158-room Cambria Hotel Detroit Downtown with 17,000 square feet of meeting space will open by mid-March, while the 227-room Godfrey Detroit Curio by Hilton just west of downtown is slated to open in May. Meanwhile, the historic, 455-room Westin Book Cadillac Hotel, a 10-minute walk from the convention center, is undergoing a $20 million renovation, and Olympia Development and Related Companies recently detailed plans to build two hotels with 467 total rooms as part of a $1.5 billion investment in what’s called District Detroit.
All of these initiatives will help Detroit with upcoming conventions and trade shows and with the 89th edition of the NCAA Final Four basketball tournament taking place in March 2027.