July 10, 2014 at 4:33 pm

'Potential developer' given go-ahead to start work on historic Metropolitan Building

Metropolitan Building at 1509 Broadway in downtown Detroit. (Max Ortiz / The Detroit News)

Detroit — The crumbling, graffiti-marred Metropolitan Building downtown may have a new life as a “potential developer” has agreed to begin stabilizing the facade, which is the first step into creating 61 apartments and ground floor retail in the empty building.

The city’s Detroit Downtown Development Authority announced Thursday it reached an agreement with Metropolitan Development Partners, identifying the group as a possible developer of the historic Metropolitan at 33 John R.

Metropolitan Development Partners has deployed a 165-ton crane to reach the top of the 15-story structure so workers can remove loose pieces of the decorative terra cotta facade. In total about $300,000 of work is expected to be completed by July 27, according to the press release.

The Metropolitan Building was built in 1925 and for many years was home to jewelry businesses. Its highly decorative facade is comprised of terra cotta, granite and brick, which has been falling apart since the building was vacated in 1977.

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