Downtown Development Authority Stabilizing Historic Metropolitan Building Façade

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The Detroit Downtown Development Authority (DDA) has reached an agreement with a potential developer of the historic Metropolitan Building at 33 John R to complete a significant project to stabilize the historic, but deteriorating building façade.

Metropolitan Development Partners has deployed a 165-ton crane to reach the top of the 15-story structure so workers can remove loose pieces of the decorative terra cotta facade.

The crews will also install rubber flashing around sections of the roof to reduce water infiltration and build additional scaffolding and fencing around the structure to protect pedestrians. The cost for the protective steps is expected to total about $300,000 and be completed by July 27.

The staff for the Downtown Development Authority has been working diligently to preserve this historic structure and find a suitable developer to bring it back as an attractive and vital part of Downtown. Although there is still a great deal of work to be done, this is a great step towards both goals. At the same time it protects the ever increasing pedestrian traffic in the area.

Eric Means, CEO of Means Group said, “We have a project team with strong experience in historic restoration and urban redevelopment, so we are very confident we can restore this building.”

“We don’t take safety lightly,” he added. “We are making a substantial investment to protect the public while we take the necessary steps to close a deal.”

The Metropolitan Building was built in 1925 and for many years was the location of jewelry businesses. Its highly decorative façade is comprised of terra cotta, granite and brick, which has been deteriorating since the building was vacated in 1977. Metropolitan Development Partners plan to create 61 high-end apartments in the building, along with commercial space and retail on the lower floors.

Brian Holdwick

Executive Vice President, Business Development 

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