Debris falls from neglected Metropolitan Building in downtown Detroit, hits truck

The Metropolitan, center. (Steve Neavling/MCM)
The Metropolitan, center. (Steve Neavling/MCM)

Metropolitan Building_2040

A large chunk of the tall, decaying Metropolitan Building in downtown Detroit tumbled more than 10 stories overnight and crashed onto the roof of a pickup truck.

No one was hurt – this time.

The 15-story gothic-style building, which is graffiti-strewn and open to vandals, has been a danger to the public for years. The owner, Detroit’s Downtown Development Authority (DDA), has allowed the building at 33 John R St. to deteriorate for years. This is the same authority that plans to use $285 million in public funds for a new Red Wings arena and entertainment district just north of downtown. 

The DDA didn’t return calls for comment.

The 89-year-old  building was originally used to house jewelry retailers, dealers and manufacturers, according to historicdetroit.org. It also became known as the Jewelers Building.

There was hope that Quicken Loans founder Dan Gilbert would take over the property but the transaction never took place.

Bruce Schwartz, Quicken’s “Detroit relocation ambassador,” told the Guardian last year that the Metropolitan had promise.

“The city will give us that,” Schwartz said. “We could knock out the bottom floors, open them up to the alleys behind, put in some bars, some seating. We could build lofts, office space.”

Steve Neavling

Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.

  • tb556

    The building is contaminated with radium. They were going to convert it to lofts in the early 2000s but it didn’t happen due to this. It will probably have to be demolished.

    • muckraker_steve

      This from historicdetroit.org: Inside is a radioactive substance called “radium 266, which was used to illuminate watch dials. Radium’s radioactivity lasts for decades, making the Metropolitan a 15-story tower of nasty.”