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Since 1979, the historic Metropolitan Building on John R. in downtown Detroit has sat vacant.

In fact, trees even started growing on it. One that was 13 feet tall, and they brought it down to light it up for the ceremony this afternoon.

There has been some activity at the site for awhile, but today came the word of what exactly is going into this triangle-shaped building. It will be home to Michigan’s first Starwood Element Hotel.

The $32 million project kicked off today in a lobby that’s seen better days, however, you can still see hints of its 1925 grandeur.

At one time, the Metropolitan was the hub for jewelry in the city and home to everything from watchmakers to diamond cutters.

The “Element Detroit at the Metropolitan Building,” the new hotel will feature:

  • 110 one- and two-bedroom extended-stay hotel rooms
  • 2,000 square feet of state-of-the-art meeting space on the second-floor mezzanine
  • 7,000 square feet of retail space on the ground floor and lower level

And to top it all off? A rooftop bar and patio with what promises to be stunning views of downtown Detroit and the Metropolitan’s terra cotta details.

Here’s a video from some urban explorers in 2011 that might give us a good look of what the views would be:

In an area that was not long ago the playground of scrappers and urban explorers, soon you’ll be able to sip cocktails.

As to the trees that were on the top of the roof? Well, this was the longest vacant skyscraper downtown, and the 13 foot Cottonwood that was taken off the roof will be replanted in a Detroit neighborhood.

Here’s a look at the details in the lobby from the event today.