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Plan Would Renovate Detroit Boat Club As Boutique Hotel On Belle Isle

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]

TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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