DETROIT (WWJ) – Potential developers are putting up $300,000 of their own money to fix a crumbling building in downtown Detroit.
Workers have been using cranes to remove loose pieces of the terra-cotta façade of the Metropolitan Building after bricks recently fell on a car parked below along John R Street, just east of Woodward Avenue.
“In efforts to counteract the fallen debris, we have taken necessary steps to stabilize the building,” Eric Means, president of the Means Group, told WWJ’s Vickie Thomas. “Structurally it is solid, the building is very solid.”
The Means Group, along with Grunwell-Cashero Co. and The Monahan Co., are behind the effort to stabilize the 15-story landmark. Crews are using a 165-ton crane to reach to the top of the building so workers can install steel cables and reinstall netting to capture any additional small pieces that may become loose and fall.
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. Work is expected to be finished by the end of July.
Long-term plans for the building have not yet been revealed, but could include space for high-end apartments, along with commercial space and retail on the lower floors.
Terry Thompson, who lives downtown, said he’s excited about a potential revival.
“It’s a good building on the inside and there’s a lot of history in it, so if they can save it, that would be a good thing,” he said. “Apartments or condos, that would be perfect. We need more of them down here. People are eating them up as they become available.”
The Metropolitan Building was built in 1925 and for many years was the location of jewelry businesses. Its highly decorative façade is composed of terra-cotta, granite and brick, which has been deteriorating since the building was vacated in 1977.