Week of 2.20.17

Welcome to the home of Social Lights. New online reports with photos appear each week on the website and in the monthly print editions for the Birmingham-Bloomfield area and the Rochester-Rochester Hills area at the start of each month. If you want e-mail notification of when new Social Lights columns are posted to this site each Monday, sign up in the Newsletter Sign Up box at the lower right side of this home page.

Bates Street Society Dinner

The Community House Board of Directors welcomed 200 to the second annual dinner ($200, $250 tickets) honoring significant donors ($25,000 plus). It also saluted community Pillars of Vibrancy who were toasted at a preliminary champagne reception. The 2017 Pillars are: Culture - architect Victor Saroki and publisher of Downtown Publications David Hohendorf; Wellness - Richard Astrein and Beaumont Hospital President Rosanna Morris; Philanthropy - Lois Shaevsky and George Miller; Education - Margaret Matthes. They were eulogized by house CEO/President Bill Seklar and received tribute pins from past pillars before joining the dinner crowd.
This weeks social light photos…


oakland confidential

March 2017

MARCIA, MARCIA, MARCIA: Oakland County Commissioner Marcia Gershenson (D-Bloomfield Township, West Bloomfield) may have picked a fight with the wrong person in power when she called out county board chair Mike Gingell and vice chair Mike Spiz , both Republicans, during board swearing-in ceremonies on January 11. "She seemed determined to create dissension," said a fellow commissioner. "She ...more»
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Boutique hotel planned for Birmingham

By Lisa Brody
News Editor
01/20/2017 - A new and unique luxury boutique hotel is being designed for the corner of S. Old Woodward and Brown Street in downtown Birmingham, Mario Tricoci, CEO of Chicago-based Aparium Hotel Group confirmed.

Aparium Hotel Group has been brought on to design, position and manage the new hotel that is being developed at 289 S. Old Woodward by Lorient Capital, a company backed by Mark Mitchell and the Mitchell family office of Birmingham, Tricoci said. In recent years, the location was the site of Drs. House Call and Weir Manuel Snyder and Ranke realtors.

Still in its preliminary stages of development, the hotel will be either four or five stories, with the first floor "a dedicated living room for Birmingham" Tricoci said, in the form of a full service food and beverage program, which Aparium will operate. "It will be a very important culinary aspect centered around the sensibilities of Birmingham, something the local market is missing," he said. "It will be a very chic area for residents to eat, drink, celebrate, meet friends, host events, and perhaps do a little work. It will provide a very balanced experience."

The other floors of the building will be a hotel, with no office space other than for hotel operations. There is the possibility, Tricoci said, of a small residential component. At this point, the number of rooms is still up in the air as they determine what the city and marketplace needs and wants.

"We are continuing to understand the market – whether it is suites, Queen rooms, corporate apartments – there are unique independent offerings to understand the competitive market which plays into the number of rooms, the outdoor space, terraces, parking," he explained.

He said they are considering on-site parking in the design, but it is still a work in progress.

A preliminary discussion was held with the Birmingham Planning Board on Wednesday, January 11, with an architect from the Booth Hansen firm in Chicago, which went extremely well, said Birmingham Planner Matt Baka. "The planning board liked the idea and encouraged them to submit."

Tricoci said they did a comprehensive cross-country search for an architect to meet the correct criteria for Mitchell, and are now learning about what the city and the planning board are seeking, to complement both the Townsend Hotel and other hospitality options in the marketplace.

"We're doing it carefully, thoughtfully, collaboratively, so it is the best possible product," he said, stating there is no set time line yet. "It takes some time. We want a contemporary version of another property we all know and love.

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