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Inside Bedrock’s stunning new offices in a long-vacant downtown building

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Michelle & Chris Gerard

Where does Detroit’s most recognized real estate company work? Located in between the First National Building and the Vinton Building, Dan Gilbert’s Bedrock purchased the handsome Metropole Building in 2013. The four-story building had been largely vacant for 47 years, except for the Bangkok Crossing restaurant on the ground floor. They’ve just finished a spectacular renovation of the building and invited Curbed over to see the new workspace.

The building was designed by Richard E. Raseman and opened around 1880 as a Mabley & Co. Department Store. They were in the building for about ten years, and the Hotel Metropole took its place in the 1890s. The building was mothballed by the city in 1970 and the second, third, and fourth floor weren’t used for decades.

The design team for the renovation was led by Kyle Evans Design, with work from both Bedrock, dPOP, Neumann/Smith Architecture, and Integrated Design Solutions. The designers were looking to make it comfortable yet timeless, with nods to Detroit history. Dark greens and gold are represented throughout the space, reflective of “Green gold” in the lumber industry. Historical aspects abound; the rails around the stairway are designed like the windshields of the Model T.

The office has a variety of private offices that have room for small meetings, flexible workspaces, and informal spaces for collaboration. The office also has tiny “phone booths,” and one special booth leads to, what else? A speakeasy.

The building had largely been gutted and the design team didn’t have a lot of original materials to work with. They took cues from tiling still intact on the lower levels. The second floor still had pillars and a tin ceiling which have been preserved. The flooring is new, but meant to look old.

Other notable design considerations include clear doors to stairwells, encouraging users to walk instead of using the elevator; special Detroit murals in the stairwells; writable walls in the offices; and usb and power outlets in the tables. Bedrock offices are on the second, third, and fourth floors, with a lobby on the ground level. About 180 Bedrock employees in architecture, construction, leasing, accounting, creative, and more now call 630 Woodward their office. Here’s a look around.