With the marvelous architectural transformation of the historic building complete, the Hilton Garden Inn Flint Downtown will officially open to the public on Nov. 2. It is the newest addition to the Hilton Garden Inn brand that provides business and leisure guests with upscale, affordable accommodations and unexpected amenities.
Formerly known as the Genesee County Savings Bank, the century-old, 11-story structure now features 101 guestrooms, an upscale Italian restaurant, meeting rooms and banquet center, and rooftop lounge and deck that offers terrific vistas of Flint’s horizons. A $36.5-million, 148,000-square-foot rehabilitation project, the Hilton Garden Inn Flint Downtown also includes a ground-floor coffeeshop in the building’s southeast corner where Kearsley and Saginaw streets meet.
“The revitalization of downtown Flint has taken a major step forward with the opening of the Hilton Garden Inn,” said Tim Herman, president of Uptown Reinvestment Corp. (URC), the project’s developer. “Not only does the hotel bring needed accommodations to downtown, it is bringing new jobs. In fact, it’s a lightning rod for increased activity and spending in the area.”
The hotel offers convenient access to attractions such as the Capitol Theatre, Flint Farmers’ Market, University of Michigan-Flint, Durant-Dort Factory One and an array of restaurants and shops within walking distance. It is also just under a mile from the Flint Cultural Center, home of the Flint Institute of Arts.
“This new Hilton Garden Inn is a win-win for the city of Flint,” said Ridgway White, president and CEO of the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, which granted $9.45 million to the Foundation for the Uptown Reinvestment Corp. to support renovation of the building. “Not only does it bring new jobs and restore a historic building that had been vacant for decades, it also allows people to visit family and friends, conduct business and host events right in the heart of the city, where they can enjoy so many of the positive things Flint has to offer.”
Flint Mayor Sheldon Neeley added the hotel will provide a significant boost for downtown businesses.
“This development restores one of Flint’s iconic historic buildings and is a cornerstone piece of our city’s ongoing economic development,” Neeley said. “The City of Flint welcomes the Hilton Garden Inn and all of its guests. We look forward to showing even more visitors all that Flint has to offer — and bringing even more tourism dollars to support our growing network of entrepreneurs.”
Michele Wildman, senior vice president of community development at the Michigan Economic Development Corp. said, “bringing new life to a historic downtown building, the Hilton Garden Inn Flint Downtown is a tremendous example of the innovative placemaking the MEDC is proud to support. This new development is an incredible asset for local tourism efforts and hospitality industry in the region while also contributing to the overall vibrancy of downtown Flint.”
Project support through the Michigan Strategic Fund included a $7.95 million Michigan Community Revitalization Program performance-based equity investment as well as approval to the City of Flint Brownfield Redevelopment Authority to support the alleviation of brownfield conditions at the site.
“The impressive renovation is sure to delight and wow our patrons as they experience the Hilton Garden Inn Flint Downtown with a twist, mixing modern, interior design with the building’s historic grandeur inside and out,” said Michael George, chief executive officer of Crescent Hotels & Resorts, the hotel’s management company. “Crescent has numerous historic properties in our portfolio, but this property’s transformation from a 1920s bank will definitely create a unique experience for guests.”
The original Italian Renaissance Revival design of the banking hall and base of the tower was completed in 1920. The structure was modified in 1947 to incorporate a streamlined and elegant late-Art Deco style. At that same time, the five-story Sherman Building was connected to the tower at each floor.
Today, the structure retains much of the Art Deco detailing throughout the completely reimagined and rebuilt interior. The hotel’s entrance is off Buckham Alley, with the lobby, market and business center on the first floor of the former Sherman Building.
The adjacent grand banking hall has been converted into the home of Sauce Italian American Kitchen. The mezzanine level offers additional restaurant seating and serves as a pre-function area to the meeting rooms and banquet spaces on the second floor.
The guestrooms have bright, warm white walls, accented with pops of color through the upholstery fabric and classic wood tones featured on furniture. The nods to the Art Deco period extend to the subtle scallop pattern on the upholstered headboard. Bold geometric patterns in the rug and accent wallcoverings make an appearance throughout the space. The artwork on the walls incorporates abstract deco shapes overlaying historic images of the city of Flint. The guestrooms also reflect unique layouts and designs, a common feature of historic buildings that have been restored and preserved in a modern fashion.
In addition, the original marble wainscoting, base moldings and door casings have been restored and integrated into the hotel’s corridor design.
Valet parking is provided around the clock for $15 per day. Self-parking is also available at the nearby Rutherford Garage.
The Hilton Garden Inn Flint Downtown will staff 45 full-time and 15 part-time employees.
General Manager Jeff Stableford emphasized the importance of delivering exemplary service to guests at the area’s newest and upmarket hotel.
“I’m talking about more than just a friendly smile – as important as that is,” said Stableford. “We’re focused on delivering purposeful, sincere service to all of our guests and patrons that reflects the highest standards of the Hilton brand and the greater Flint community.”
The café – called The Federal Coffeehouse – opens for business Oct. 30. The name is a nod to the historic building’s former use as a bank. Simmer Rooftop Lounge is slated to open in the spring of 2021.
Flint-based firms DW Lurvey Co. and Sorenson Gross jointly managed the two-year construction project. Detroit-based Kraemer Design Group applied its expertise as the architect, interior designer and historic consultant.
Quotes from additional partners:
“We’re proud to continue investing in Flint and Genesee County and ultimately make our community even stronger,” said Greg Viener, president of Huntington’s Mid-Michigan Region. “We’re also proud to call this hotel our neighbor, as it’s located on the same block as our Flint campus, and we couldn’t be more excited to welcome its associates and guests to our beautiful downtown.”
Community Foundation of Greater Flint
“Our leadership has been committed to the development of downtown Flint since we relocated our offices here in 2008,” said Isaiah M. Oliver, president and CEO of the Community Foundation of Greater Flint. “Our investment in the Hilton Garden Inn project is grounded in our mission and the impact this place-based project brings to downtown Flint.”
Local Initiative Support Corp. Flint
“The Local Initiatives Support Corporation is proud to have helped to play a role in this transformational project led by Uptown Reinvestment Corporation, exemplifying the significance of adaptive reuse of our historic Flint structures, and creating a high-end venue, which will draw out-of-town visitors and local residents alike,” said Juan Zuniga, senior program officer, LISC Flint Office. “LISC’s $4 million lending portion of the $36.5 million Hilton Garden Inn’s funding pool, helps us to highlight what great economic development ventures can happen, when multiple funding agencies work together to realize community change.”
Old National Bank
“Old National Bank and ONB Community Equity have thoroughly enjoyed working with the community leaders and visionary developers who have made the Hilton Garden Inn a catalytic project in Flint,” said Mike Harbaugh, tax credit relationship manager, Old National Bancorp. “We’re pleased that our historic tax credit equity could help preserve this iconic building in downtown. Additionally, we’re excited to see the job opportunities that this project can provide to the residents of Flint for years to come.”
The award-winning Hilton Garden Inn brand provides business and leisure guests upscale, affordable accommodations and unexpected amenities for an experience that is ‘Simply on Another Level.’ The Hilton Garden Inn Promise affirms the brand’s goal to make each guest’s stay better and brighter. Guaranteed. Team Members at more than 865 hotels in 49 countries and territories around the world ensure today’s busy travelers have a bright and satisfying experience, starting with the first hello. As a recognized F&B leader, Hilton Garden Inn serves locally sourced food and beverage at its full-service restaurants and bars, featuring cooked-to-order dishes, handcrafted cocktails, and on-trend small plates. For more information about Hilton Garden Inn, visit www.hgi.com and connect on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram.
Crescent Hotels & Resorts is an award winning, nationally recognized, top-3 operator of hotels and resorts. Crescent currently operates over 100 hotels, resorts & conference centers in the US and Canada. Crescent is one of the few elite management companies approved to operate upper-upscale and luxury hotels under the brand families of Marriott, Hilton, Hyatt and IHG. Crescent also operates a collection of legendary independent lifestyle hotels and resorts under Latitudes Collection, Lifestyle by Crescent. Crescent’s clients are made up of hotel REITs, private equity firms and major developers. For more information, please visit www.crescenthotels.com or connect with Crescent on LinkedIn.
Uptown Reinvestment Corp. (URC), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, works to revitalize and support downtown Flint by improving its attractiveness for entrepreneurs, employers and residents, and as an entertainment destination. Founded in 1999, URC brings together a broad-based coalition of interests, including government, education, business and philanthropic institutions, to drive business investment in the downtown district. For more information, visit www.uptownreinvestment.org.