Detroit’s Metropolitan Building – See the Before / Afters

With all the renovations happening in Detroit lately, it was only a matter of time before I created before/after images of one of Detroit’s renovated buildings. The images shared here belong to the Metropolitan Building located on John R. The building opened in early 2019 as a boutique hotel named Element Detroit by Marriott. And more recently, the opening of the Monarch Club bar on the top floor of the building.

All of the before images were captured in 2014. The first visit was with Bryan Levy, and the second with permission (thanks to the building owner at the time). The after images were captured during two different trips to the hotel. Thanks to the hotel manager, I was able to get permission to shoot the images of the lobby and Monarch Club.  

This group of before/afters is in the lobby of the Metropolitan / Elements Hotel.

This group of before/afters is inside the Monarch Club, the top two floors of the building, showing indoor seating areas, outdoor seating and bar.

Here is a gallery of images from before, as well as from after, of the Metropolitan Building / Element Hotel / Monarch Club. I hope you enjoyed this photo story, please share with those who may be interested in Detroit!


Want to see my other galleries? You can start here.


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28 thoughts on “Detroit’s Metropolitan Building – See the Before / Afters

  1. gretchen dorian says:

    Alanna! A Big Wow, these are spectuacular, I love that you have followed the reconstruction/renovation AND adding the “sliders” is sooo very wonderful! Beautiful! gretchen

    • Alanna St. Laurent
      Alanna St. Laurent says:

      Hi Gretchen, thank you so much! I had never completed a before/after to this degree, it was a fun project for me! I was inspired by another blog that used the sliders so I used those instead of static images. I’m glad you enjoyed them!

  2. Doug Maxwell says:

    Was in side the lobby of this building, as we stayed next door at The Siren. Tried to go to the roof top, but a private party was going on. Never would I have known the building looked like this. WOW! Great picture comparison.

    • Alanna St. Laurent
      Alanna St. Laurent says:

      Hi Doug! That is a bummer you didn’t get in to the Monarch Club, if you are here in Detroit or ever make it back I recommend it! Yes it is the same story of so many Detroit buildings, the good news being so many buildings coming back to life.

  3. Gary and Gigi Lincoln says:

    We stayed there in April, on the 9th floor, where my parents had an office (Meyer Goldberg Company) in the fifties and sixties. Might you have a listing of the tenants when the building closed?

    • Alanna St. Laurent
      Alanna St. Laurent says:

      Hi Gary,

      Wow that is really neat! Unfortunately I do not have that information, my suggestion is to try the Detroit Public Library. Perhaps a librarian could assist you in finding that information. Good luck!

  4. Judi Grunstra says:

    This is so inspiring, showing that where there is a will there is a way to renovate rather than tear down and replace with some soul-less substitute.

    • Alanna St. Laurent
      Alanna St. Laurent says:

      Hi John,

      I didn’t realize there was a penthouse in the building? I thought it was mainly jewelers? Perhaps it had been converted at some point? Can you tell me what year(s) you had lived there? Thanks for sharing your story!

  5. Roberta Henrion says:

    As a historic preservationist, I complement your documentation of the architecture of the past and present of the Metropolitan Building. The sliders are an excellent touch allowing an in depth comparison of the architectural details. Keep on creating and showing your important work. Well done!

    • Alanna St. Laurent
      Alanna St. Laurent says:

      Hi Roberta, you have a great job as well! Thank you for your compliment, I was just glad I was able to be there to see both the before and after. I plan to do more as the buildings get renovated!

  6. Lucy says:

    Just amazing. My husband bought me a beautiful dinner ring at a jeweler at the MetropolitAn but can’t remember the name of the company. I still have the ring and wear it. Often!

  7. Linda Gmeiner says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed the slider pictures. My grandson was very involved in the electrical restoration for many months at this beautiful bldg unknown to me when my “girls group” made it one of our field trips! We did go to the top to the Monarch Club, and decided we must go back in the warmer weather to enjoy the fabulous outside view of the city!

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