Detroit's historic Metropolitan Building reopens after sitting vacant for nearly 40 years

Metropolitan Building in Downtown Detroit. Left is a rendering of redevelopment. Right is a photo from 2010.

The historic Metropolitan Building in Downtown Detroit reopened this week after sitting vacant for nearly four decades. 

A $32 million redevelopment project kicked off last summer and will become home to Michigan's first Element Hotel, an extended-stay hotel under the Starwood Collection, which will welcome its first guests in time for the North American International Auto Show. The landmark property will also feature a rooftop restaurant and bar, as well as ground-floor retail and dining, which will open early next year. 

A rededication took place Monday afternoon.

The Metropolitan Building was designed by the firm Weston & Ellington and opened May 25, 1925, on John R Street between Woodward Avenue and Broadway. The 14-story Neo-Gothic tower stands like a medieval castle, a stone’s throw from Grand Circus Park and is part of the Grand Circus Park Historic District.

The building was primarily a jewelry emporium, housing everything from diamond-cutters to silver workers to goldsmiths, as well as jewelry stores on the lower levels. When the Metropolitan opened, the Detroit Free Press proclaimed it “a perfect example of Gothic architecture” and “one of the most unique shopping and merchandising centers ever built in America.”

However, as Downtown Detroit fell on hard times, the Metropolitan closed in early 1979 and has stood empty for 39 years.

More background here from Historic Detroit.