The lot where the hotel sits today was originally purchased in 1902 by Bunge y Born, a leading local agribusiness firm. They had one of the largest wheat mills in the country which allowed them to establish Molinos Río de la Plata (a leader in the local retail foods market).
The structure measured 25,000 m2 (270,000 ft2) in indoor area and was built with bricks imported from Manchester. The development of a new port further north after 1911 led to the original docklands' obsolescence, however, and by 1998, the shuttered El Porteño building (as the historic mill was known locally) had been slated for demolition.
Saved from the wrecking ball by local cultural preservation associations, the building was purchased by fashion designer Alan Faena, who after a US$40 million investment, opened the Faena Hotel in October 2004.
Refurbished and decorated by designer Philippe Starck, the hotel has 105 rooms and is adjacent to an apartment complex of 83 units. The hotel includes the rustic El Mercado restaurant, a café, wine cellar, fashion boutique, cabaret and spa. The Cabaret hosts the number one Tango show in Buenos Aires "Rojo Tango". As part of the larger Faena District in Buenos Aires with the hotel at its core, Faena worked with Norman Foster to create the Faena Aleph Residences - Foster and Partners' first project in Latin America completed in January 2013.