Design contest to help develop ex-Hudson's site

Posted on March 1, 2013

Detroit — An international design competition on a potential $75 million development on the former Hudson’s department store site in downtown Detroit will be formally launched in several weeks, said a top official for the Dan Gilbert entity that controls the property on Woodward.

Matt Cullen, president and CEO of Rock Ventures LLC, an umbrella entity for Dan Gilbert’s portfolio of companies and investments, made the announcement at the Detroit Policy Conference in the MotorCity Casino-Hotel but gave few details. He reconfirmed plans to build a mixed-use project of residential and retail on the site. A Gilbert-controlled entity called 1208 Woodward LLC has development rights for the city property.

The property has been vacant since the city demolished the flagship store for the J.L. Hudson Co. in 1998. The vacant block sits atop an underground parking structure, with infrastructure already in place to have a building constructed on top. On Wednesday, the Michigan Strategic Fund, a quasi-public agency that handles economic development, approved changing the deadline for the project to June 30, 2016, from the original December 2015 deadline. A document obtained by the Detroit News cited the international design competition as the reason for the extension.

The document states the $75 million total investment figure for the project. It also states design plans are expected to be ready by Dec. 1 and “all necessary permitting” should be done by Sept. 1, 2014. Deadline to complete the financing and begin construction is Oct. 31, 2014. Deadline for “substantial completion of construction” and occupancy of the project is June 30, 2016, according to the document.

In 2011, Gilbert’s firm received a 15-year extension on a Renaissance Zone designation on the site to make it easier to redevelop.

Businesses within Renaissance Zones don’t have to pay city income and utility user taxes, most city property taxes, county property taxes, and state income tax or business taxes, according to the city of Detroit’s website.

Louis Aguilar, The Detroit News.