Iconic Detroit Building Saved by Major Hospitality Chain

The iconic Metropolitan Building will be transformed into a modern eco-hotel after sitting vacant for almost 40 years.

By Alexandra Pacurar

Rendering of Element Hotel at the Metropolitan Building
Rendering of Element Hotel at the Metropolitan Building

DetroitStarwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide announced the foray of the Element Hotels brand into Detroit. The historic Metropolitan Building, a true landmark in the city, will be transformed into a high-end mixed-use development which will incorporate the new hotel. Scheduled to open in July 2018, the hotel will be owned and constructed by Metropolitan Hotel Partners LLC, a joint venture between Detroit-based Means Group and Roxbury Group.

The 100,000-square-foot Element hotel will offer 110 guest rooms, including spacious studios and one-bedroom suites with modular furniture, fully equipped kitchens, the signature Heavenly Bed and spa-inspired bathrooms. Element Detroit will include 2,000 square feet of modern meeting space on the second floor mezzanine level and roughly 7,000 square feet of retail space on the ground floor and the lower level. The outdoor patio on the building’s 11th floor will also be renovated. Other amenities will include a Restore gourmet pantry, fast and free Wi-Fi, complimentary bikes to borrow, a state-of-the-art, 24-hour fitness center and an indoor swimming pool.

“We look forward to introducing Element to Detroit with this exciting adaptive re-use project that will retain the historic charm of the Metropolitan Building, while turning it into a sleek and stylish destination for travelers visiting the Motor City,” said Brian McGuinness, senior vice president of Specialty Select Brands for Starwood.

The 14-story structure, once known as the Jewelers Building, will become a modern, eco-friendly hotel offering visitors plenty of natural light, modern designs, healthy lifestyle options and eco-minded sensibilities. Signature Element amenities will also be available at this new unit, including the Rise breakfast or Relax evening wine reception, both complimentary.

“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, right in the city’s Entertainment District,” said Allison Reid, senior vice president of North America Development at Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide.

The neo-gothic Metropolitan Building, designed by local firm Weston and Ellington, opened in 1925 as a jewelry emporium. It closed in 1978 following a difficult era for retail in downtown Detroit. For years, the property was disputed in court by James Nicita, who planned to turn it into lofts, but the local administration turned him down and went with another developer, according to Historic Detroit. The trial ended in the 1990s, but the redevelopment project never took shape.

In 1997, city and state authorities cleaned up the building from toxic chemicals used in the jewelry making process which contaminated the site. However, the state of Detroit’s economy did not encourage any investment until now.

Image courtesy of Starwood Hotels & Resorts