Long-vacant building reopens in downtown Detroit as Element hotel

Posted on January 22, 2019

Photo Credit: Andrew Potter, Element Detroit

A long-empty building in Detroit that had a trashed interior with trees growing on its roof reopened Monday following a top-to-bottom renovation as an extended-stay hotel downtown.

The new 110-room hotel, called The Element at the Metropolitan, fills the old Metropolitan Building, 33 John R, which had sat vacant since 1979.

It is the first Element by Westin hotel in the state, a brand owned by Marriott International with environmentally friendly designs and features. Nightly rates start at $189.

The 14-story neo-Gothic structure opened in 1925 and for many years was nicknamed the jewelers building for the large number of diamond cutters and goldsmiths who worked there. When those businesses closed, the building fell into deep decay in the 1980s and 1990s and ownership reverted to the city.

The building has now undergone an extensive $33-million redevelopment by Metropolitan Hotel Partners, a joint venture between Detroit-based developers the Roxbury Group and the Means Group.

The renovation preserved many of the building’s original features, including decorative staircases, terrazzo flooring and an ornate vaulted ceiling in the lobby.

The original storefronts of the jewelry stores also were preserved on the second floor and repurposed as meeting rooms.

“When the building closed 40 years ago, it would have been hard for Detroiters of that era to have imagined that it would come back to life in this way,” David Di Rita, co-founder and principal of the Roxbury Group, said in a statement.

The hotel is expected to house three food and beverage venues, with the first, a rooftop bar and patio known as the Monarch Club at Metropolitan, scheduled to open in the coming months.

The building also has 7,000 square feet of retail space and several conference and meeting rooms.

JC Reindl, Detroit Free Press.