DETROIT (WWJ) – A landmark building in Detroit is getting a makeover.

The historic Metropolitan Building, built 90 years ago on John R. east of Woodward Ave., is having a great deal of graffiti removed.

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“It’s a daunting task; there’s a lot of damage to this building,”  said Tony Sabo, with Grunwell-Cashero, which is restoration work. “It’s been let go since the mid to early 80s.”

(credit: Vickie Thomas/WWJ)

(credit: Vickie Thomas/WWJ)

The building has been closed since 1977, and its age makes the cleanup tricky, Sabo said.

“This building has a lot of terracotta on it, and that’s really a unique product, and it’s been going on for a long time,” he told WWJ City Beat Vickie Thomas. “It really speaks to the era that the building was built…It was a common product back then; but it’s really a beautiful product and makes this building stand out.”

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Sabo said that if all goes well, the unauthorized artwork will all be gone in a matter of days.

“Yes, yes, it’s going,” Sabo said. “We plan on restoring this building — that project is in the works — and right now…we’ve had effort stabilized the building and now we’re attempting to remove the graffiti.”

(credit: Bowens & Co.)

(credit: Bowens & Co.)

The Metropolitan Building — sandwiched between the YMCA, The Lofts @Woodward and The Opera House — is slated to become a mixed-use development with street level commercial space and rental residential units above.

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Developers are working on financing and hope to have the full $20 million restoration project going next spring.