Book Tower nears spring opening after seven years and $300M of historic restoration work

What’s happening: After more than a decade of vacancy, one of the most recognizable towers in Detroit’s skyline is set to open its doors once more. Book Tower is expected to welcome tenants and visitors to its Washington Boulevard home this spring.

Book Tower (center) is located at 1265 Washington Blvd. in downtown Detroit. (Photo: Book Tower / Facebook)What it is: Built in 1926, the Louis Kamper-designed Book Tower became the tallest building in Detroit upon its completion. After decades of various office tenants, the lights would go out in 2009 before Dan Gilbert’s Bedrock real estate firm purchased the building in 2015. After seven years of construction and more than $300 million spent on its restoration, the 38-story Book Tower will reopen as a hotel and apartment building with event, retail, restaurant, and office space, as well.

Visit for an excellent history of Book Tower and its neighbor the Book Building.

What it’s become: Book Tower will feature 229 studio, one- and two-bedroom apartment units dubbed The Residences at Book Tower; pre-leasing begins in April. ROOST Apartment Hotel will have 117 units and there is 52,000 sq. ft. of retail, office, and dining space, the latter of which will include three new restaurants. Co-working, meeting, and event space, as well as an activated alleyway, is also expected.

The work put in: Bedrock is touting the historic restoration as one of the largest adaptive reuse projects in Michigan, and after more than seven years of construction and more than $300 million spent they’re probably not far off. Among the many restoration projects include the reinstallation of 50,000 sq. ft. of marble, the restoration of 29 caryatids on the building’s exterior, and the restoration of the original 1920s art-glass skylight in the building’s three-story atrium.

Why it’s important: “When we acquired Book Tower, Bedrock took on more than just a dilapidated building­—we inherited an iconic property that held a century of Detroit’s history and elegance,” Kofi Bonner, chief executive officer at Bedrock, said in a statement. “We understood the special place Book Tower holds in the hearts of Detroiters and we made sure our work was approached with the utmost thought, care and intention. Book Tower will soon be reborn as a space for residents, visitors and guests to gather and create new stories—once again building on its legacy as this city’s true architectural gem.”

Book Tower is located at 1265 Washington Blvd. in downtown Detroit.

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MJ Galbraith is Model D's development news editor. Follow him on Twitter @mikegalbraith.