Extended-stay hotel to open in Metropolitan building

Louis Aguilar
The Detroit News

A downtown Detroit building that’s been empty since the late 1970s will become an extended-stay hotel with ground-floor retail.

The Metropolitan building at 1509 Broadway in Detroit.

The Metropolitan, a tall, narrow Gothic structure at 33 John R, has been graffiti-riddled and thoroughly vandalized for decades. It will be re-opened as Element Detroit at the Metropolitan Building with 110 rooms. Target opening date is July 2018, according to a press release issued Monday by the developers.

Element Hotels are part of the larger chain Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc.

The Metropolitan is about a half block east of Woodward and John R, the intersection where the John Varvatos store is located. The Metropolitan is less than a block away from the Detroit Opera House, the Boll YMCA and the People Mover stop on Broadway.

The building will be owned and developed by Metropolitan Hotel Partners LLC, a joint venture between Detroit-based Means Group and Detroit-based Roxbury Group.

The 100,000 square-foot 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.

“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.

The Metropolitan Building was built in 1925 and for many years was home to jewelry businesses, a dress shop and other retailers.

Its highly decorative facade is composed of terra cotta, granite and brick. The building lost its last tenant and became empty around 1977 or 1978. The city foreclosed on the structure shortly afterward, shutting it down, according to the website historicdetroit.org.

The city has spent tens of thousands to board up its broken windows as well as set 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.

The development group has been cleaning out the building and securing its facade for more than a year.