The hotel building has a long history, dating back to the early 19th century when the corner plot at Drottninggatan-Västra Hamngatan held a building owned by wholesale merchant Elis Fredrik Brusewitz.
Fire and Life Insurance company Svea bought the property in 1867, operating out of the building for twenty years before it eventually became too crowded and they were forced to commission a new building. An architectural contest was held, and a contribution by Stockholm architect Adolf Emil Melander entitled “Hear us, Svea” was selected as the winner. Gothenburg architects Hans Hedlund and Yngve Rasmusson were called in to help Melander’s contribution meet the insurance company’s stringent requirements.
The building was finished in 1889, with construction overseen byF O Peterson and Söner Byggnads AB. Over 100 years later, this same firm handled the building’s renovation into the Elite Plaza Hotel, Gothenburg. When the Svea building was completed in 1889, Gothenburg’s premiere trade and shipping magazine announced that “the building had become an adornment not only for Gothenburg, but for all of Sweden.”
In 1974, the insurance company moved to new premises and the building stood vacant until 1979. Following renovation, the property was transformed into instruction facilities for the University of Gothenburg. The university moved out in 1995 and the building once again stood vacant for several years until it was acquired by a limited partnership jointly owned by F O Peterson & Söner and SSRS Holding. Conversion commenced, and by January 2000, the Svea building had been transformed into a first class hotel, the Elite Plaza Hotel, Gothenburg.