607 East 2nd Ave. , MI
Built in the 1920s, The Durant served as Flint’s finest and most luxurious convention hotel for over 50 years. Named after the founder of General Motors, William C. Durant, the hotel became a local icon as celebrated by the success of the automobile industry. In more recent decades, the turn of economic hardship left the building vacant and neglected for many years. Much community effort and philanthropic support went into making the $22 M project a success in hopes of kick-starting the revitalization of Flint. Developer Buildtech Limited saw opportunity in the Durant and had the vision to rehabilitate it back to the vitality it once had.
As the first building to be re-developed on the North side of the Flint river, the Durant is no longer a forgotten building. It now houses 94 residential units geared towards students attending the UM of Flint campus. With over 60% leased units in the first few weeks, the Durant is expected to reach near capacity in its first year. Additionally, the lower levels of the building hold commercial lease space bringing back business to the community.
Construction required much of the 160,000 square foot building to be stripped out due to neglect over the years. The Durant had to be rebuilt from the inside out, fitting new layouts on each floor. The most striking features of the building include the main lobby and the ballroom. In efforts to preserve the history of the building and its distinctive early 20th century look, modern materials were used to re-create the original design. Many of historic ornamental elements including trim work, details around pillars, and exterior metal-work mixed with modern accents make the Durant a unique and interesting space.
Given the challenging location and hard economic timing, Buildtech took a huge step of faith in this development. Without the support of the community, and the push towards Flint’s resurgence, the re-development of the Durant would not have been possible. The success of the Durant is anticipated to be a large catalyst in a serious of re-developments in effort to turn around downtown Flint to the beloved place it once was.