Less than a year after buying it, the owners of the Rand Tower in downtown Minneapolis are planning to transform the Art Deco office building into a boutique hotel.

Maven Real Estate Partners wants to begin $60 million worth of renovations on the 26-story building on the corner of Marquette Avenue and S. 6th Street if city regulators and historic preservationists allow it. "It's a perfect location and a perfect building for an iconic Minneapolis hotel," said Nick Peterson, director of acquisitions at Maven.

The building was 23 percent vacant when Maven bought it for $18.7 million last summer. It began to reposition the building for office tenants seeking short-term, flexible work space but later abandoned that idea.

Peterson said the "highest, best use" of the Rand Tower was "clearly hotel." Maven is working with ESG Architects to design the hotel and still needs city approvals to move forward.

The hotel is planned to emphasize the history of the building, which dates back to 1929. Rand Tower was built by Rufus Rand, a pilot in WWI who was a member of the family that owned the Minneapolis Gas Co.

The building, which has distinctive features like terrazzo floors in the lobby and ornamental carvings over its entrances — one features Mercury, the Roman god of merchants and travelers, holding planes — is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Twin Cities hotel market cooled down in 2017, after a flurry of recent new hotels continued to be absorbed into the market.

In downtown, revenue per available room, or RevPAR, fell 9.4 percent to $105.88 in the third quarter of last year compared to a year earlier, according to CBRE Hotels, the hospitality division of the CBRE commercial real estate firm. That was close to its 2014 level.

However, the Super Bowl earlier this month was a boon for many area hotels especially the ones in Minneapolis. RevPAR is expected to tick up this year, led by hotels at the high end of the pricing scale.

Twitter: @nicolenorfleet