The Hotel

Collision Works creates spaces that bring people together and uses personal stories to build empathy; helping people reflect on themselves as individuals, reflect together as a city, and collectively tell new narratives to share with a broader audience.  The result is resilient communities. 

This community development project consists of a public event space, collaborative work areas, a mentoring program, and a 46-room hotel made of recycled shipping containers. It is founded on a hybrid profit/non-profit mixed-use model and designed for sustainability.


Image Copyright KOOP Architecture & Media & Detroit Collision Works

Our story-based programming, interactive digital experiences, and community building specifically aligns with the high percentage of creative and experiential travelers visiting Detroit right now, travelers craving the unique and authentic. Our material choice of repurposed shipping containers is on trend and also aligns with our guests’ commitment to the environment. And our location within a bustling farmers market (that attracts over two million people annually) aligns with their commitment to locally sourced food. Our demonstrated commitment to people, planet, and profit resonates with our target audience.

In a Kickstarter campaign last year to raise funds for our prototype, our most successful “reward” was a night’s stay in the future hotel. Encouragingly, 20% of all backers paid $250 or more for a night’s stay in a hotel that didn’t yet exist! We have been covered locally, nationally, and internationally in dozens of newspapers, magazines, blogs, and on TV. One of the leading magazines for event planners in the US, Prevue, called us “The Most Important Hotel In America.”


We offer three products that leverage personal stories, progressively building brand equity leading towards the hotel.

  • Story Boxes: These multiple, neighborhood based community centers have embedded mentoring programs. Here, young people make products designed for tourists like coffee mugs and wall art from their own personal stories. We sell the products online, in the hotel gift shop, and in each room.
  • Story Centers: More centrally located, these larger community hubs offer story-based events and relationship building activities. We use co-working and strategic retail to offset costs and keep things fresh and lively.
  • Story Cities: We add a hotel and/or mixed residential housing, food, and additional retail to an existing Story Center site.


The non-profit and for-profit hotel entities have separate management teams and separate business plans that strategically align. The non-profit compliments the hotel by:

  • Renting space and conducting its community-building activities and events within the same building that operates the hotel
  • Operating a community-based co-working facility and partnering with local start-up incubator programs
  • Offering a variety of “Experience Services” that contribute to the overall value for hotel guests and having a full time analytics expert on staff to measure the impact of these and other services
  • Renting and operating space for a gift store where it sells well-designed products created through the youth mentoring program. These are things like coffee mugs, postcards, and wall art designed with skilled mentors, each item telling a personal story. These items are also for sale in each hotel room, allowing guests to easily take a piece of the experience home with them.


Strong partnerships and working relationships with several important institutions and organizations include The University of Detroit Mercy, Detroit Collaborative Design Center, TechTown, Detroit Future City, D:hive, The Detroit Public Library, Eastern Market Corporation, Michigan Trails & Greenways, and many arts and community groups.

We are working with KOOP Architecture and Media for hotel design and SG Blocks, international experts in container construction for engineering and box supply.

The hotel costs $9,676,000 and and we need an additional $293,000 for predevelopment activities, which we have already begun. We have built a debt-only model at 6.5% and start paying back dividends in our 3rd year and stabilize in our 5th.  We are speaking to investors and state and federally operated capital funds now.

If you are interested please contact

We’d be honored if you would join us.