The general public hasn’t seen the inside of the elegant State Savings Bank since October 2018. Back then, Bedrock Detroit unveiled its redevelopment of the historic bank branch with the splashy art exhibit, Mirage—a mirrored and interactive installation designed by Doug Aitken.
The gorgeous Beaux-Arts building—with its arched colonnades, Ionic columns, coffered ceiling, and enormous vault—was designed by McKim, Mead & White and opened at 151 W. Fort Street downtown in 1900. It may be the only building in Detroit designed by the prominent New York–based firm. An addition was completed in 1914 by the Detroit-based firm Donaldson & Meier.
The State Savings Bank was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.
The nearly 72,000-square-foot building was bought by the Dan Gilbert–owned development company in 2014 for $3.25 million according to the city’s parcel data.
That purchase essentially saved the building. It had been abandoned for “20 to 30 years” according to Brett Yuhasz, senior project manager on Bedrock’s construction team. There were holes in the roof, the floors were missing, and it seemed destined for demolition.
But between then and now, the soaring main room with its 35-foot ceilings has been largely restored to its original glory. The elegant architecture was brought back to life with seamless plaster patching, marble cleaning, paintwork, and recreation of other historical elements.
In the year since Mirage, the State Savings Bank has been used as an event space for up to 400 guests. Bedrock says it has hosted about 20 events this year, including Crain’s annual “Detroit Homecoming.”
The 14,640-square-foot main room can be the perfect backdrop for a fashionable event or fundraiser. “Event planners have ultimate flexibility to use this amazing space as a backdrop and do their own thing on top of it,” Yuhasz says.
Weekend rentals cost $7,500 per day and weeknights are $5,000.
It will continue to be used as an event space through 2021, at which point Bedrock will reevaluate. There’s an undeveloped second floor—which overlooks the lobby similar to a mezzanine—and a smaller third floor. Bedrock says it’s open to proposals from the right office or restaurant tenant.
Take a look at some more photos of the impressively restored State Savings Bank.