Vacant, ornate Metropolitan Building to become hotel in downtown Detroit

The Metropolitan Building, center. By Steve Neavling
The Metropolitan Building, center. By Steve Neavling

By Steve Neavling
Motor City Muckraker

The vacant, 15-story Metropolitan Building, which was at risk of demolition a few years ago, will be converted into an extended-stay hotel with retail on the ground floor.

Metropolitan Building
Photo by Steve Neavling.

The gothic-style building in downtown Detroit has been vacant since the late 1970s and was falling apart and open to trespass for years. In May 2014, debris fell from the neglected building and crashed onto the roof a truck.  

But the building’s negligent owner, the Detroit’s Downtown Development Authority (DDA), found a group of developers interested in redeveloping the Metropolitan with 110 hotel rooms at 33 John R.

Metropolitan Hotel Partners LLC, a joint venture between Detroit-based Means Group and Roxbury Group, plans to rename the building “Element Detroit,” which is part of a larger chain Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide, the Detroit News reports. 

“Element Detroit at the Metropolitan Building is a highly-anticipated addition to the brand’s rapidly growing portfolio and will present travelers with an appealing, new option for short and long stays,” said Allison Reid, senior vice president of North America Development, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc.

It’s expected to open in the summer of 2018.

The 91-year-old building was originally used to house jewelry retailers, dealers and manufacturers, according to It also became known as the Jewelers Building.

Under the ownership of the DDA, the Metropolitan had fallen into disrepair and was regularly open to trespassers, who vandalized the building. Its ornamental facade is covered in graffiti. 

The building’s 14-story neighbor, the Wurlitzer, which also was falling apart, is expected to be transformed into a boutique hotel with retail and restaurant space on the lower floors.
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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.

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