The developers of downtown's 14-story Metropolitan Building, destined to become a 110-room extended stay hotel named Element Detroit, have secured the "final piece of capital" required to renovate the 1925 Gothic structure.

The Metropolitan Hotel Partners LLC, a joint venture between Detroit-based Means Group and Roxbury Group, received approval from the Michigan Strategic Fund’s Board of Directors for a $6.5 million Community Revitalization Program investment, officials announced Tuesday. The funds will contribute to the $32 million project at 33 John R, just east of Woodward.

“The redevelopment of The Metropolitan Building serves an important role Downtown’s revitalization,” said David Di Rita, Roxbury Group Principal. “We are very thankful for the State’s belief in this project and investment in helping to make it happen.”

The building, vacant and blighted since the 1970s, also will include a grocery store and breakfast restaurant, according to Di Rita. It is expected to open in the summer of 2018.

It was purchased earlier this year from the Downtown Development Authority for around $250,000, officials said at the time. Di Rita told The Detroit News the building would have cost the firms about $500,000, but the Means Group had already put a significant amount of money into the building to stabilize and secure it, for which the city credited them.

Developers of the 100,0000-square-foot, 14-story building plan to restore the exterior and to complete a "top-to-bottom" renovation inside, officials said. Builders will preserve the original, ornate lobby and mezzanine.

“I want people to come in and if you don’t know better, you would think the building was always like this,” Di Rita said earlier this year.

The building will have 2,000 square feet of meeting space on the second-floor mezzanine level; about 7,000 square feet of retail on the ground floor and lower level; and an outdoor patio on the 11th-floor rear rooftop.

The Roxbury Group also is responsible for the restoration of the historic David Whitney Building downtown, and is helming the redevelopment of the Hammer and Nail building in Midtown, which will become high-end apartments. The David Whitney currently houses the Aloft Detroit hotel.

The Metropolitan for many years was home to jewelers, a dress shop and other retailers. The city foreclosed on the property in the late 1970s and spent tens of thousands of dollars boarding up its broken windows as well as setting up scaffolding and netting to prevent pieces of the exterior from falling onto passersby. The historic building was at risk of being demolished two years ago.

“We’re just really glad that the chorus of people who wanted to tear down these (historic) buildings didn’t get their hands on this one,” Di Rita said.

Read or Share this story: