DETROIT (WWJ/AP) - A Hong Kong-based businessman wants to transform the dilapidated Detroit Boat Club building on Belle Isle into a boutique hotel.
Jimmy Lai, owner of the Vintage Hotel group, has proposed the $40 million project. Mark Simon, Lai's representative, said the vision is to rebuild the boat club, built in 1902, to its original appearance.
"You don't hear this said often, but Detroit is really a pretty city," Simon told The Detroit News. "The riverfront is spectacular."
Simon said plans include renovations to transform the building -- which serves as the current home of the Detroit Boat Club, a rowing group -- into a hotel with 100- to 120-rooms. Plans also include room for restaurants and boat dock restorations. Simon said the hotel could even become a popular destinations for weddings because "the setting on the riverfront is so unique."
City officials have yet to comment publically on the hotel proposal.
The state is taking over the city-owned park under a lease imposed by Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr. The move is expected to save the city between $4 million and $6 million a year. Starting Feb. 10, there will be a $11-per-car annual fee to Belle Isle. [READ MORE]
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