A request for a liquor license for a new luxury boutique hotel already under construction at 298 S. Old Woodward at the corner of Brown Street received unanimous support from the Birmingham Planning Board on Wednesday, September 25, and will now move to the city commission for final approvals.
Birmingham Planning Director Jana Ecker explained the applicant for the hotel, Daxton Hotel, Woodward Brown Ventures LLC/Aparium Hotel Group, was back for a special land use permit and final site plan and design review to operate a hotel with a liquor license.
“The applicant is requesting approval to use a new Class B – Hotel Resort Economic Development license under the new ordinance allowing a hotel or movie theater to operate with a liquor license. Woodward Brown Ventures, LLC/Aparium Hotel Group is owned by several entities controlled by Mario Tricoci, Kevin Robinson and Howard Silverman,” Ecker said. “In addition to owning and operating the Daxton Hotel, all three are members of the LLC that owns/operates the Detroit Foundation Hotel and the Apparatus Room restaurant in downtown Detroit.”
She said the ordinance amendment allows transfers in of liquor licenses for hotels and movie theaters, which is how the Birmingham Theatre received its license. For a hotel, the requirement is they must have at least 100 rooms, which the Daxton does. She indicated that all of the quota Class C licenses are in use or being held by property owners, so are not available to the applicant.
Interior design site plan changes indicated that the restaurant/bar will be in the corner of Woodward and Brown, with a private dining room along Brown Street, banquet facilities, and a wine room, rather than the earlier proposed wine bar accessed from the via.
Board members were disturbed about the change of the wine bar, which would have been open to the public and create accessibility to the hotel to activate the via, to a wine room only open to hotel guests or those using banquet facilities. Another room, fronting Old Woodward, became a storage room.
“The board does not want that space obscured as storage space, they want it activated,” Ecker noted.
Board member Bryan Williams was more pointed to the applicants. “We don't want Whole Foods facing Maple, we don't want Sav-On, now CVS, and we don't want Triple Nickel on big Woodward, with those pots and pans in the window,” he chastised Aaron Black, director of operations. “Those are different from what we anticipated, and in at least one instance what was presented.”
Board members still recommended approval of the special land use permit and final site plan to the city commission, 6-0, with board chair Scott Clein not in attendance.