Detroit Regional Chamber > Media Coverage > Hudson’s Site Skyscraper Will No Longer Be Tallest in Detroit

Hudson’s Site Skyscraper Will No Longer Be Tallest in Detroit

February 5, 2020
January 29, 2020

Detroit Free Press

JC Reindl

Rest easy, Renaissance Center. Dan Gilbert is no longer gunning for your title as tallest building in Detroit.

One of Gilbert’s top lieutenants said Wednesday that designs for the Hudson’s site skyscraper have changed and the tower — set to be completed in 2023 — will not stretch higher than the Renaissance Center.

The tower’s new planned height will likely not be finalized until Memorial Day, said Matt Cullen, CEO of Gilbert’s real estate firm Bedrock Detroit.

The tallest tower of the Renaissance Center stands 727 feet. The Hudson’s tower was planned to rise 912 feet.

“It will not be the tallest,” Cullen told reporters at the Detroit Regional Chamber’s annual policy conference at MotorCity Casino Hotel. “What we concluded is we wanted an iconic building … and the need to be the tallest wasn’t on our highest list of priorities anymore.”

Even with a non-record height, the Hudson’s site project is still the most ambitious downtown Detroit development in years.

The $909 million project calls for constructing a new block-long building, with the skyline-piercing tower rising from its southern side. The building will be located at the site of the old J.L. Hudson department store, which closed in 1983 and was imploded in 1998.

“It’s going to be a tremendously impactful and iconic building, and we are not as concerned with the height of it perhaps as others are,” Cullen said.

The tower will contain a mix of residences and hotel rooms, he said, and the operator of the hotel could also be chosen by Memorial Day. Decisions will also be made on whether the residences will be condos, for-rent apartments or a mix of both.

“A condo is a little bit different shape than an apartment,” Cullen said. “The hotel, depending on the brand, has different floor plates and would require different square-footage.”

Earlier Wednesday, another Bedrock official said there will be visible, street-level construction happening at the Hudson’s site by this summer.

The project broke ground in December 2017 but construction has been slow. Completing the project in 2023 would put it one year behind the original schedule.

Recently, construction crews began erecting two large cranes at the site, which is more or less still a big hole in the ground.

“We are ready to come up out of the ground this year,” Cullen said.

Monroe timeline

Cullen also gave an update Wednesday for another high-profile Bedrock project, the planned Monroe Block downtown.

The roughly $1 billion development was originally to open in late 2022. Monroe Block is still happening, he said, but will come after the design of the University of Michigan Innovation Center, which is situated off Gratiot Avenue at 1400 St. Antoine St.

Bedrock is developing the Innovation Center along with real estate mogul Stephen Ross. Construction of the Innovation Center is to start in 2021.

“I think the decisions as to what goes into those first two projects, the Innovation Center and Hudson’s, will start to inform what we should be designing and building from a programming standpoint at Monroe,” Cullen said.

Original plans for Monroe Block called for a new 35-story office tower, a new 27-story residential tower and a new 10-story development with residential and retail space.

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