Nov. 30–Downtown Milwaukee's Hotel Metro is planning more than $4 million in renovations and will add the Marriott Autograph brand when that work is done by summer.
The project will give Hotel Metro, a boutique hotel at 411 E. Mason St., access to Marriott International Inc.'s global reservation system, while also preserving the well-known hotel name, said owner John Ogden.
It also means new furnishings and layouts for the 19-year-old hotel's 63 guest rooms, Ogden said Thursday.
"It will be a complete face lift," he said.
The rooms, with around 500 to 550 square feet, will have the curved walls that separate the living areas from the beds removed, Ogden said.
That will make the rooms feel even larger, he said. The upgrades will include new beds, bathroom fixtures and other furnishings.
Ogden hopes to start that work in early 2018. He's seeking state and federal historic tax credits, while keeping an eye on plans to change the federal tax code that could include ending that program.
The project is a reaction to the growing number of higher-end hotels in downtown Milwaukee, Ogden said. Newer properties include the Marriott, Kimpton Journeyman and Westin.
"We've seen what's going on in the market," Ogden said. "We really felt like we needed a brand."
Hotel Metro will be the first Marriott Autograph in Wisconsin. It will be managed by Oklahoma City-based Coury Hospitality.
Marriott uses the Autograph brand for luxury boutique hotels that provide "unique perspectives on design, craft and hospitality," according to the company.
Hotel Metro opened in a converted Art Deco office building in 1998. It had some early financial struggles, but by 2004 the hotel's owners paid off a $1.7 million city loan used to help finance the project.
After the hotel opened in what had been a vacant building, several new restaurants and nightclubs opened nearby on N. Milwaukee St. between E. Mason St. and Wisconsin Ave.
Tom Daykin can be emailed at [email protected], and followed on Twitter and Facebook.