The Metropolitan Building

The Metropolitan Building in downtown Detroit is one of the city’s hidden gems. Located on John R. Street wedged between two other buildings in the shadow of the David Broderick Tower, the Metropolitan was built to provide retail and workspace for Detroit’s diamond and jewelry trade. It was designed by Weston & Ellington and work began in 1924. The first three floors were filled with storefronts, while the upper floors were home to craftsmen designing and creating jewelry out of gold, silver, and diamonds.

As retail moved out of the city to the suburbs in the 1970’s, many of the suppliers followed. Around 1978 the Metropolitan was closed, leaving the building vacant for almost 40 years. Redevelopment was complicated by the presence of chemicals and other waste from the jewelry trade, which was eventually cleaned up in 1997. Finally in 2016 two developers announced that they would be renovating the Metropolitan into a boutique hotel for Marriott under their Element brand. The hotel opened in 2019 after a $33 million dollar renovation.