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When I first visited the Metropolitan Building
in early 2000 I was struck both by its beauty
and potential. Although water damage was extensive
the building was far from the unsettling wreak
that is the United Artists Theater or Statler
Hotel. The building's unique floorplate and its
location seemed ideal for loft conversion.
Three years later my initial impressions were
reinforced by the prospects
of the building's conversion into 60 lofts. That
summer crews went to work clearing out what debris
remained in the building. Since then the crews
have left, little has been heard on the status
of renovations and vandals resume their occasional
When I returned to the building in early 2004
the results of the cleanup were very apparent.
The floors throughout the building have been cleared
of the vast bulk of debris that we had found earlier.
The building was soaked like a sponge. Melting
snow resulted in large puddles on several floors.
In areas with fallen plaster remaining on the
floor the result was a thick layer of sludge.
Puddles and sludge aside, the building still
appears to be in good condition. Since the time
of my first visit the surrounding area has seen
a great revival. Most of the Metropolitan's neighbors
on Broadway have been rehabbed. To the south a
new YMCA will be built. Recent loft developments
on Woodward are also adding a residential presence
to the area. Even if the rumored loft conversion
doesn't materialize it can only be a short while
before more plans come to fruition.