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Incredible before-and-after photos of the Metropolitan Building

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The transformation is astounding

Perhaps no redevelopment in Detroit was as daunting as the Metropolitan Building.

The 14-story Neo-Gothic office building built in 1925 had been abandoned for 40 years. During that time, scrappers had taken most parts of value and the city had even erected nets to catch debris from its collapsing facade. Demolition seemed certain.

Despite those challenges, earlier this year the building opened as Element Detroit at the Metropolitan Building, an extended-stay, 110-room hotel redeveloped at a cost of $33 million. Developers the Roxbury Group and Means Group also opened The Monarch Club, a rooftop cocktail lounge and outdoor terrace.

Not only was the Metropolitan Building brought back to life, but the developers did an exceptional job recreating many of its historical elements.

Photographer Alanna St. Laurent was able to capture images of the building in 2014, well before the redevelopment was announced, and in 2019 after construction finished. She was able to line the images up to create before and after sliders, some of which you can view below. Visit her website to see the rest.

Lobby of the Metropolitan
Lobby of the Metropolitan
Monarch Club cocktail bar
Metropolitan Building rooftop

Metropolitan Building

33 John R Street, , MI 48226