Former New Yorker Plans To Transform Abandoned Detroit Rail Line Into Hotel Made Of Shipping Containers

1/1/13 1:12PM EST

Anyone who has ever seen abandoned graffiti-covered buildings knows they are a far cry from a boutique hotel. But Michigan State University graduate Shel Kimen has the imagination to make such a transformation possible. Chicago-native Kimin plans to convert an acre of vacant buildings that are part of Detroit’s Dequindre Cut—an old rail line that has been turned into a bike and walking path.

It’s a boutique hotel and community work space built around storytelling,” Kimen, who left an advertising career in New York City to help transform the city of Detroit, said. “I can’t think of a city that’s more exciting—so many people are trying different things. It’s the art. It’s the freedom and the space. It’s that there’s something different happening.

The $4 million project includes a 36-room hotel complete with 3,000 square-feet of meeting space and a large outdoor courtyard. The 16,000 square-foot hotel will be constructed from shipping containers.

Shipping containers are considerably more durable than standard construction, can cost less, and most importantly are about 30 percent faster to build,” Kimen said on her blog. “We’ll be using this project as an opportunity to teach local builders and designers about the process. So as we get to building in the spring, expect to hear about public workshops for people interested.

Kimen hopes to break ground for the hotel in the spring and open as early as next fall.

[Images via Detroit Collision Works/Facebook]