Somerset Collection to open year-round storefront in Downtown Detroit

Rotating retail space set up in Metropolitan Building

Backed by the Forbes Company and Somerset Mall, the idea is to bring luxury brands back to Downtown Detroit. They plan to give shoppers storefront that rotates brands often, and to give brands a chance to test Detroit.

DETROIT – The Somerset Collection Studio at the Metropolitan Building is an open space that will allow retailers to pop up at the Downtown Detroit site.

Backed by the Forbes Company and Somerset Mall, the idea is to bring luxury brands back to Downtown Detroit. They plan to give shoppers a storefront that rotates brands often, and to give brands a chance to test Detroit.

"It is unproven yet, to know whether or not full-time, year-round luxury stores can be housed in the city of Detroit. This will give them an opportunity to build on the brick-and-mortar aspect of what Somerset is and kind of get a taste of what it is to have a retail presence in the city of Detroit," said Nate Forbes, of the Forbes Company.

The whole concept of a pop-up, rotating retail space proves successful during the holidays when Somerset opens similar pop-up shops in Detroit. In 2011 when the CityLoft shops opened, many liked the mini mall. So now the mall wants to come to them.

"We are trying something that has not been done around the country. This will be the first of its kind," said Forbes.

Somerset has about 180 stores at is mall in Troy. Those retailers all have an opportunity to use the pace in Downtown Detroit. They plan to open for this holiday season.

The Somerset Collection Studio brings 1.4 million square feet of retail into a 1,400-square-foot space, with floor-to-ceiling display windows and entryways from John R. Street, inside the Metropolitan’s lobby, and to the fully activated alley. The space with terrazzo floors, drapes, digital display walls and movable display cases is designed to be able to transform into the brand of the designer or theme, from a Tiffany blue box to a winter wonderland, according to the Somerset Collection.

Here's what to expect

  • Rotating Brand Displays – Guests will constantly be immersed in new retail activations when they visit the store -- whether one luxury brand takes over the space for a month or several global designers are curated for a seasonal-themed presentation. The brand displays will at times be a selection of merchandise found at Somerset Collection or trunk shows brought to Michigan exclusive at Somerset Collection Studio.
  • Locker delivery – Customers can shop from any of Somerset Collection’s 180-plus retailers and have their items brought to a locker at the downtown store that can be accessed by a texted code.
  • Personal Styling – A personal stylist will be available to consult with guests and develop a closet of looks customized to their style. The personal stylists will also have a profile for their customers to help with their every need, from a curated closet of merchandise, to  remembering gifts for work holidays to friends’ birthdays.
  • Vending Now – A designer vending machines filled with rotating merchandise -- everything from phone gadgets to jewelry and fragrances.

“The Somerset Collection Studio concept did not happen overnight. We’ve spent a decade immersed in the Downtown retail market through partnerships, pop-up activations and focus groups to understand the needs of the community, whether a resident, worker or visitor,” said Forbes. “We are honored to have engaged deeply with Detroiters to bring to the city a concept like no other, in a city like no other.” 

First retail in Metropolitan Building in 40 years

Somerset Collection Studio will be the first retail store in the Metropolitan Building in 40 years, which was built in 1925 as a destination for shoppers and jewelers. The 14-story New Gothic skyscraper reopened in December 2018 after a $34 million redevelopment was completed by Metropolitan Hotel Partners, a joint venture between Detroit developers Roxbury Group and Means Group. In addition to the historic redevelopment skyscraper’s exterior, the building’s stunning Great Hall and other interior architectural details were carefully restored.

Renovation work began in August 2017. One of the crowning features in the building is the Monarch Club, a signature rooftop cocktail lounge and outdoor terrace with stunning views of downtown Detroit and the Metropolitan’s incredible terra cotta details.

About the Authors:

Nick joined the Local 4 team in February of 2015. Prior to that he spent 6 years in Sacramento covering a long list of big stories including wildfires and earthquakes. Raised in Sterling Heights, he is no stranger to the deep history and pride Detroit has to offer.

Dave Bartkowiak Jr. is the digital managing editor for ClickOnDetroit.