There’s a lot going on in Detroit.
Yesterday the architects who will be outlining the plans for a new building on the old Hudson’s site in downtown Detroit (pictured above) were announced. Today Dan Gilbert appeared on MSNBC’s Morning Joe with Detroit mayor-elect Mike Duggan and Marc Morial, president and CEO of the National Urban League to discuss Detroit and the future of the Hudson site.
I have a personal connection to the site that Hudson’s formerly stood on. From my earliest memories, I loved going downtown to Hudson’s. I remember going down on July 4th and watching the largest American flag in the world be unveiled across the side of the store. I remember coming down each Christmas to Hudson’s Christmas Wonderland on the 12th floor. It was magical. The place was decked out with every possible Christmas decoration under the sun. This was an entire floor of rides, decorations, exhibits, elves (yes, there were elves) and Santa has his own house. Like I said, it was magical.
My father was a stamp collector. I remember coming down with him many times and shopping at the stamp and coin department in Hudson’s. Yes, they had a stamp and coin department.
The personal connection to Hudson’s that I have goes even deeper than that. My grandfather and namesake (his name was Clayton Closson also), who was a hungry and energetic young man with a wife and child, convinced someone at Hudson’s to hire him to work in the stocking department for probably what was far less than the equivalent of today’s minimum wage. It didn’t take long for him to stand out from the crowd and he eventually rose to senior leadership, in charge of the three floors of the famed Budget Store in the Hudson’s basements. The Budget Store was the original outlet or rack store.
My grandfather got my dad a job managing Hudson’s musical record department (yes, they had a record store in Hudson’s) and one day he met a lady that caught his eye. That was my mom. They had coffee together in Hudson’s cafeteria and discussed where they would want to go on their honeymoon if they got married.
As I got older and started attending high school in downtown Detroit, I often walked down to Hudson’s and just wandered around the store. I especially loved riding the elevators. It had those old elevators that were huge and required an operator. Awesome elevators.
Long story short, I was bummed when the store closed in 1983. I was even more bummed when they tore the building down in 1998, though the implosion was quite impressive.
So this brings me today. The hallowed ground where the building once stood will now again see another building rise above the parking garage that sits there today. Here’s a bit from the press release announcing the selection of architects for the site:
Rock Ventures today announced it has selected SHoP Architects as the architect of record to lead the design process for the 2-acre site of the former Hudson’s Department Store in downtown Detroit. Headquartered in NYC, SHoP will partner with Detroit-based Hamilton Anderson Associates (HAA) to create an innovative concept for a signature development on Woodward Avenue in the heart of Detroit’s Central Business District bordered by Gratiot, Grand River and Library Street.
“These two firms, known as premier urban catalysts, were chosen for their innovation and creativity, as well as their track record of committing to community engagement. We believe SHoP and Hamilton Anderson will join a long list of distinguished architects including Yamasaki, Burnham and Kahn who have created landmark buildings in Detroit that stand the test of time,” said Jeff Cohen, Founder, Rock Companies, LLC, a member of the Rock Ventures Family of Companies. “From its six-dimensional Building Information Modeling (BIM), to a live construction mobile and web application, SHoP’s well-rounded, entrepreneurial approach is a perfect fit for our culture and for Detroit.”
Can’t wait to see this. I’ve waiting decades for this. It’s happening this time. Finally and for real.
Getting back to Dan appearing on Morning Joe. He discussed Detroit’s revitalization and the encouraging energy and vibrancy of downtown and midtown Detroit. They also discussed beating blight, improving city services and and the new small business program the Warren Buffett was in town today to announce. Here’s the video. It’s great stuff. Please let us know what you think. Do you share Dan Gilbert’s optimistic outlook about Detroit? Why or why not? We’d love to get your comments.
If so, subscribe now for tips on home, money, and life delivered straight to your inbox.