Historic Landmark is Highlighted with Modern Stone Applications

November 1, 2008
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The historic Park Shelton in Detroit, MI, was recently given new life as a luxury condominium complex, and the project included modern stonework within the individual units. Standard materials included Baltic Brown for the kitchen countertops and Crema Marfil for bathroom vanities.


The Park Shelton, a classic rendition of 1920s beaux-arts revival architecture and a distinguished landmark in Detroit, MI, is emerging as the residence of choice for a new generation of academics, artists, doctors, attorneys, judges and other homeowners seeking a sophisticated, upscale urban lifestyle. And as part of the $15 million renovation, a range of contemporary stonework can be found in the new condominium interiors.

Upgrades for the kitchen countertops include the use of Santa Cecilia granite.

Opened in 1926 as the Wardell Hotel, the Park Shelton has undergone a $15 million renovation over the last two years that converted the building into an elegant 227-unit condominium complex. Highlighting this restoration of one of Detroit’s historic architectural gems has been the rejuvenation of the classic artistry represented in its natural stone and detailed plasterwork. This is complemented by the craftsmanship of the contemporary marble, granite and tile installed in the kitchens, baths and living areas.

A variety of edge treatments were used for the kitchen countertops.

As of last fall, well over half of the 227 condominiums have been sold, according to Eric Rowe, site superintendent for the project. Originally an apartment hotel and later operated as an apartment complex, the Park Shelton remained open during the conversion, said Rowe. The apartment residents were given one- or two-year lease options before vacating, or offered discounted purchase agreements.

Some homeowners have also selected granite for their bathrooms for a more pristine, dramatic look, said Ann Corder, project coordinator.

Condominium interiors

The contemporary stonework of the condominium interiors was crafted by TJ Ceramic Tile Sales, Inc. of Southfield, MI. As a standard offering, the kitchen spaces were designed with a choice of three granites - Baltic Brown with straight polished edges, Impala Black with a “Bird’s Beak” edge and Ubatuba with a full bullnose edge. Upgrades included materials such as Santa Cecilia, Absolute Black, Tan Brown, Mystic Green, Black Galaxy and Sunset Red.

Photo by Scott Just- In addition to the private condominiums, a major aspect of the Park Shelton preservation and restoration work was on the marble walls and columns of the main lobby.

Meanwhile, Crema Marfil marble was chosen as the standard material for sink tops and vanities, with upgrades including Madreperia and Giallo Reale marble for bathroom vanity tops. Some homeowners have also selected granite for their bathrooms, such as Absolute Black, for a more pristine, dramatic look, said Ann Corder, project coordinator.

Photo by Scott Just

Homeowners desiring to replace the original bathroom mosaic floors also had the option to upgrade to a material of their choice.

In addition to the stone, tile and plaster renovations, the Park Shelton project has included replacing the galvanized water pipes with copper, upgrading and modernizing the electrical system, including installing a new back-up generator; and refinishing all of the original hardwood floors. An adjacent private, secured four-story parking garage also has been added on the hotel’s east side.

Work in the main lobby also included reactivating the original marble lion’s head fountains.

“When it was opened in 1926 as the 650-room Wardell Hotel, it was the most prestigious hotel in Detroit at that time,” said Rowe. “A lot of vaudeville performers stayed there, and over the years, many other famous guests used the Park Shelton as temporary quarters, including Bob Hope, George Burns and Gracie Allen and Raymond Burr.

The hotel’s most famous tenant was Diego Rivera, who stayed there while painting his famous murals in the Detroit Institute of Arts, located directly across Kirby Street on Woodward Avenue.

Now that the renovation is complete, there is great anticipation that the project will continue its legacy as a city landmark. “The Park Shelton has set the new benchmark for historic renovations and luxury living for a new generation in Detroit,” said Rowe.      

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