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Dan Gilbert Has A Huge Vision For Detroit's Old Hudson's Site: The City's Tallest Building

Elizabeth Balboa

The Downtown Development Authority of Detroit approved a timeline for construction on the historic Hudson’s site on Woodward Avenue.

Bedrock will begin to realize its design with a December 1 groundbreaking — which aligns development with the Michigan Thrive Initiative to catalyze state economic growth. Those behind the project hope it resonates with residents as powerfully as its preceding structure did.

Transformational Development

“For long-time Detroiters, we remember what Hudson’s represented,” Dan Gilbert, founder of Bedrock, Rock Ventures and Quicken Loans, said in a press release. “It wasn’t just a department store — it was the economic engine of Detroit. It drew residents and visitors downtown, where they spent a day shopping at Hudson’s and visiting the retail, restaurants and theaters around it.”

Gilbert hopes the new site occupant, dubbed a “transformational” development, will have as significant of an impact on both the community and the economy.

“Our goal is to create a development that exceeds the economic and experiential impact even Hudson’s had on the city,” he said. “We believe this project is so unique that it can help put Detroit back on the national — and even global — map for world-class architecture, talent attraction, technology innovation and job creation.”

The Hudson Building stood from 1911 to 1998, although its doors closed in 1983 following years of population loss for the city. It was the tallest building to ever be imploded.

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Economic Impact

An economic study by WSP-Parsons Brinkerhoff predicted the final product will draw about three million annual visitors, generate $230 million in annual spending and house 3,000 jobs. During construction, it will create more than 5,800 jobs and $1.5 billion in economic output.

The proposed building will stand at 734 feet with 52 stories, making it the tallest structure in Detroit. The comprehensive piece includes a nine-story podium, an above residential tower with 250 units, and 700 parking spaces below.

"The driving force behind out design for the Hudson's site is to create a building that speaks to the rebirth of optimism in the city's future and an experiential destination that positively impacts Detroit in a meaningful way," SHoP Architects Principal William Sharples said in a press release. "The building is conceived around a huge and inspiring new public space, a year-round civic square that, both in its architecture and its culture, will foster and convey the feeling that we all share when we work together to imagine what this great city can become."

Image courtesy of Bedrock

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