I feel that we may salvage the historic Metropole Hotel. The air-conditioned auditorium has memories of functions of the Jaycees, Galaxy Of Youth, the Lions, Leos, Rotary club etc. The open sky courtyard has a sizable three-foot high stage which can be a theatre drama director and producer’s paradise.
The former Four Seasons restaurant area can be converted into a university standard cafeteria like the one at the Aga Khan University Hospital. The upper floor spaces already have classrooms, art gallery and museum spaces. Perhaps, a library in a few rooms with the extended sitting and reading area in the wide corridors like they did at the Karachi Club?
There is plenty of space and the possibilities are endless. The only thing limited is parking space for which Fatima Jinnah Road can be used upto Frere Hall, the Junagadh House or even beyond. Of course, we don’t mind walking a little. If people like Shahid Abdulla, Marvi Mazhar, Tofiq Pasha Mooraj, or The Second Floor are involved, I am sure they can do wonders with this already available historic landmark.
Metropole Hotel can become Metropole Hall, like the Rangoonwala Hall in Dohraji or Behbud Centre in Clifton. A centre for education, arts and crafts, vocational training with reasonable tuition and diverse multiculturalism. Maybe another Expo Centre in this part of the city. The heart of the city is convenient for people living in Saddar and the Lily bridge area.
I was invited to a wedding sometime back at the Cosmopolitan Club. Apart from the partially renovated place, I kept looking at the old wooden doors and windows with ventilators above, and kept remembering the time when I used to come here as a child. Of course, many people would have memories of attending weddings at the Metropole, or were simply enrolled in one of the accounting, air ticketing, or computer classes in the small centres in the upper floors. If we can make a lovely museum out of Mohatta Palace with various activities happening in its grounds, we can think of similar use for Metropole Hotel. Just a thought!
Mazhar Ali Nanjiani