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Groundbreaking Thursday for Gilbert's Hudson's site skyscraper

Dan Gilbert and other Detroit and state leaders are expected to attend a groundbreaking ceremony Thursday for what is planned to be the tallest building in Detroit and the state.

The billionaire mortgage and real estate titan plans an 800-foot residential tower on the 2-acre site at Woodward and East Grand River avenues in to replace the former J.L. Hudson's department store building that was imploded in 1998.


The $909 million project includes approximately 330 apartments in the tower and a separate mid-rise building with a variety of uses. A construction timeline last month sets completion for summer 2022.


All told, it is expected to have approximately 1 million square feet with 103,000 square feet of retail, food and beverage space, plus a street-level market; 168,000 square feet of event and conference space; and 263,000 square feet of office space. Another 93,000 square feet of exhibit space is planned, along with at least 700 parking spaces in a below-ground garage.


It's part of a four-project slate attempting to qualify for $618.1 million in state incentives.


The total incentive package for $2.14 billion in construction activity for the Hudson's site project, the Monroe Blocks development ($830 million), the redevelopment of the Book Tower and the Book Building ($311 million) and an addition to the One Campus Martius building downtown ($95 million) includes the following:


  • $256.3 million in state income taxes on workers expected to be employed in the new properties.

  • $229.6 million in tax-increment financing, which is the increase in property tax value expected to be caused as a result of the new developments.

  • $60.6 million in state sales taxes exempted on construction materials.

  • $51.7 million in state income taxes on residents living in the new buildings.

  • $18.2 million in state income taxes on construction workers building the projects.

  • $1.7 million in city income taxes from the Hudson's site project, which are being given back to Detroit through a community-benefits agreement approved by City Council.


All but the construction materials taxes ($557.5 million) will be used to pay off $250 million in bond proceeds over 35 years at a rate of about $15.9 million per year.


The Hudson's project was designed by Detroit-based Hamilton Anderson Associates and New York City-based Shop Architects PC. Southfield-based Barton Malow Co. is the contractor.


The Detroit Hudson's store closed in 1983.


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