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Tkelly1986
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Post Number: 310
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Posted on Friday, June 08, 2007 - 7:46 am: ††Edit PostDelete Post†††Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

With the recent talk about Quicken/Macyís and what to do with Tiger Stadium, it got me wondering what some of the redevelopment proposals were for Hudsonís. Were there any that came close to actually happening and what were some of the more credible ones?
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Burnsie
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Post Number: 1018
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Posted on Friday, June 08, 2007 - 9:53 am: ††Edit PostDelete Post†††Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Some proposals found in the Freep online archives. I'm sure there were more.

In May 1984, five Oakland County businessmen announced an agreement to buy the Hudson's building and spend $40 million to convert most of the first 9 floors into parking and the upper 16 into offices.

Perhaps the development that most heartbreakingly almost happened was announced in October 1985. Blue Cross, Detroit Edison, and Michigan Bell announced they had signed commitments to lease a total of nearly 1/3 of the office space projected for a rehabbed Hudson's. Schostak Bros. & Co., the would-be developer, planned a $60 million office-retail-parking re-use. Probably the biggest thing that killed the project was when a federal Urban Development Action Grant didn't come through, thanks to Reagan cuts. Max Fisher had also promised money.

Dayton Hudson finally sold the building in Dec. 1989 to Southwestern of Canada, a "developer" whose only ultimate achievement was stripping and gutting the building. Southwestern also disconnected the fire sprinklers, got rid of security guards, and left the building open to vandalism.

Another idea was to turn the building into a Dept. of Defense office center in the early 1990's. Dick Cheney actually toured the building at one point. Several of these centers were to be built around the country. Saginaw ultimately was the finalist city chosen in Michigan, but the whole project was killed with post-Cold War cutbacks.

In Aug. 1991, Oak Park architect William Wizinsky announced he planned a $100 million development to turn Hudson's into condos, offices, stores, a health spa and parking garage.

In July 1993, "Unity Community" a nonprofit group of local church ministers, claimed it bought the building from a Grosse Pointe man whose legal right to sell it had been challenged.

In Oct. 1993, something called the Alliance Group floated several ideas, including one to move workers from the City -County Building into Hudson's, and turn the City-County Bldg. into a luxury hotel.

In Feb. 1995, a casino investment group ("Full House Resorts, Inc.) that included Lee Iacocca claimed it had the rights to purchase the Hudson's building and $100 million to work with.
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Lizaanne
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Post Number: 37
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Posted on Friday, June 08, 2007 - 9:58 am: ††Edit PostDelete Post†††Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

What ever happed to all the beautiful artifacts in the building, like the HUGE amount of stained glass in the toy department and light fixtures? Did that ALL just get vandalized or stollen? I know the Detroit Historical Museum has some stuff, but not even close to a handful of what was actually there.

~Liza
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Burnsie
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Posted on Friday, June 08, 2007 - 10:08 am: ††Edit PostDelete Post†††Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

There was a big building liquidation sale in April 1983. Lots of stuff, including whole paneling from at least one department (jewelry) was sold. The rest of the ornaments and artifacts were carted off by owners subsequent to Dayton Hudson, stolen by other thieves, or rescued and given to the Historical Museum by volunteers immediately before demolition. A few things were sold by the Detroit Economic Growth Corp. before demolition (I know Chuck Forbes got some stuff). And there were some things that simply remained until implosion.
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Burnsie
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Posted on Friday, June 08, 2007 - 10:13 am: ††Edit PostDelete Post†††Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

A lot of stuff remained in the building until surprisingly late in the game. In Michael Hauser's book, at least a couple of chandeliers are seen intact on the Main Floor in late 1992. At least one chandelier is also visible in a Free Press photo taken in early 1997 when demolition was announced. Lots of smaller light fixtures were also still intact at the end, as well as the paneling in the Executive Offices. It was all such a shame.
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Lizaanne
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Post Number: 41
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Posted on Friday, June 08, 2007 - 11:03 am: ††Edit PostDelete Post†††Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

It just makes me ill to think that someone didn't go in there are remove every door hinge and wall panel, and everything in between.

Well - may a zillion years from now when someone is excavating on the site, they will find wonderful treasures.

I can only hope.

~Liza
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Ndavies
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Posted on Friday, June 08, 2007 - 11:49 am: ††Edit PostDelete Post†††Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

They won't be finding any left over treasures on the Hudson's block. Everything was carted away. There is now a large underground parking deck on the site. They scraped the site clean to build it. It's prepped for a new building to go on top of it.
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Burnsie
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Posted on Friday, June 08, 2007 - 12:14 pm: ††Edit PostDelete Post†††Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Yes, the only things left are the foundation walls. At least they're still there.
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Lizaanne
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Post Number: 43
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Posted on Friday, June 08, 2007 - 12:18 pm: ††Edit PostDelete Post†††Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Ok - that just sux. How sad.

~Liza
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Ndavies
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Post Number: 2647
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Posted on Friday, June 08, 2007 - 12:44 pm: ††Edit PostDelete Post†††Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Why is it sad? The old building had outlived it's usefulness. No one was going to come in and save it. No one could afford to do it.

I think it is very promising that this site is now ready for it's next use.
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Lizaanne
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Post Number: 46
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Posted on Friday, June 08, 2007 - 1:04 pm: ††Edit PostDelete Post†††Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

It's sad that so much beauty in the building was lost. I'm ok with moving forward, what I'm not ok with is preserving what we can of the past.

~Liza
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Jt1
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Posted on Friday, June 08, 2007 - 1:08 pm: ††Edit PostDelete Post†††Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

quote:

what I'm not ok with is preserving what we can of the past.



Why don't you want to preserve what we can of the past?
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Danindc
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Post Number: 2609
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Posted on Friday, June 08, 2007 - 1:22 pm: ††Edit PostDelete Post†††Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

quote:

I think it is very promising that this site is now ready for it's next use.



Which is, "underground parking garage".

Remember how the demolition of the Hudson's building was going to do so much for downtown? I believe it was Dennis Archer who claimed that the mere presence of Hudsons was impeding all kinds of new development.

It's been 9 years. What the hell?
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Detroitplanner
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Posted on Friday, June 08, 2007 - 1:35 pm: ††Edit PostDelete Post†††Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

To be fair Dan, since that time there has been the opening of several stores along Woodward as well as Compuware. Campus Martius and the Y were also added to the area.

I'm not passing judgement on the removal of the building, but simply saying that area is a lot more developable now than it was nine years ago.

If the economy was as strong as it was nine years ago, I'd have little doubt the former Hudson block would have gained a tenant by now.
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Ndavies
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Posted on Friday, June 08, 2007 - 1:43 pm: ††Edit PostDelete Post†††Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

quote:

Which is, "underground parking garage".



And that's a huge improvement over a enormous vacant blighted building.
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Danindc
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Posted on Friday, June 08, 2007 - 1:46 pm: ††Edit PostDelete Post†††Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

quote:

If the economy was as strong as it was nine years ago, I'd have little doubt the former Hudson block would have gained a tenant by now.



But the economy was still strong 4 or 5 years ago, when Compuware was built.

As we're finding out with Hudsons, and now the Statler, simply clearing property doesn't make a site attractive for development--even if you put city-subsidized parking on-site. In fairness, 2 million sf is a LOT of space to redevelop, so it would have been difficult at best to redevelop Hudsons in whole. But it makes me sick that Detroit mortgaged its history for more unneeded parking.
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Jt1
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Posted on Friday, June 08, 2007 - 1:52 pm: ††Edit PostDelete Post†††Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

They didn't tear down Hudson's for parking. They pro-actively created underground parking to support a future building on that location.

You're making it sound like they tore it down for a permanent flat lot. Let's temper the distortions.
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Danindc
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Posted on Friday, June 08, 2007 - 1:57 pm: ††Edit PostDelete Post†††Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

^^^Please, I'm a bit hungover today. Don't make me laugh so hard.
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Jt1
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Posted on Friday, June 08, 2007 - 2:00 pm: ††Edit PostDelete Post†††Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Care to elaborate? In all of your brilliance what adaptive re-use could have conceivably been done with the Hudson's building?

Do you think the work going on downtown would have progressed if that dinosaur was there?
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Danindc
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Post Number: 2613
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Posted on Friday, June 08, 2007 - 2:06 pm: ††Edit PostDelete Post†††Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

quote:

Do you think the work going on downtown would have progressed if that dinosaur was there?



Considering that none of the new development downtown is on that site, and that the current parking garage is underutilized? Yes.
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Lizaanne
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Post Number: 47
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Posted on Friday, June 08, 2007 - 2:08 pm: ††Edit PostDelete Post†††Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I'm not sure *who* you think is brilliant, but my personal opinion is that something could have been done with it if action had been taken soon enough. It was allowed to rot and once that happened it was a total loss.

Apartments, lofts, condos, shopping, retail, business, resturants, it could have been useful if someone had a vision. No one did, so what's lost is lost. I still think it's a shame. Progress is all well and good, but not in the name of neglecting our past.

~Liza
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Jt1
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Post Number: 9373
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Posted on Friday, June 08, 2007 - 2:08 pm: ††Edit PostDelete Post†††Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

SO having a massive, hulking blight looming in the area would not have stopped potential development. OK, sure.
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Danindc
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Posted on Friday, June 08, 2007 - 2:20 pm: ††Edit PostDelete Post†††Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

quote:

SO having a massive, hulking blight looming in the area would not have stopped potential development. OK, sure.



Well, eliminating it hasn't exactly helped. If it had helped, that site would have been the FIRST site to be redeveloped--before Compuware, before Merchants Row, and on and on--especially given that the city paid to construct below-grade parking. Do the math.

Frankly, I'm convinced that the city government--especialy the Council--has no interest in redeveloping the City of Detroit.
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Charlottepaul
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Posted on Friday, June 08, 2007 - 2:22 pm: ††Edit PostDelete Post†††Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

There are many developments that have happened all around that site. Is that not better than just the Hudsons site itself: one block?
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Ndavies
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Posted on Friday, June 08, 2007 - 2:25 pm: ††Edit PostDelete Post†††Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Well Dan, if you think you can do a better job, Get your ass back here and do it.

Otherwise it's just more whining from someone who decided to abandon the city.
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Danindc
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Posted on Friday, June 08, 2007 - 2:26 pm: ††Edit PostDelete Post†††Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

My question is this: If Hudsons was such a blight, then why is the most attractive site in the CBD not seeing any development whatsoever? To me, it's indicative of the flaws in the scorched earth redevelopment strategy.

The site all around the Hudsons site could have been developed regardless.
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Jt1
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Posted on Friday, June 08, 2007 - 2:27 pm: ††Edit PostDelete Post†††Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Why is that the most attractive site within the CBD?
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Danindc
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Posted on Friday, June 08, 2007 - 2:28 pm: ††Edit PostDelete Post†††Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

quote:

Well Dan, if you think you can do a better job, Get your ass back here and do it.

Otherwise it's just more whining from someone who decided to abandon the city.



I get paid to design buildings--not destroy them. Start building some shit instead of tearing it all down, and I might be able to make a living in Detroit.
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Emu_steve
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Posted on Friday, June 08, 2007 - 2:32 pm: ††Edit PostDelete Post†††Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

My non-technical, non-professional judgment is that in due time something will be built there.

In the 'life cycle' of a city things come (Hudsons), things go (Hudsons), other thing come (don't know when), etc.

I prefer to think of downtown Detroit as a mosaic. There are a lot of underutilized parcels of land.

Some will get developed in '07; others in '08; others in '09; etc.

Maybe others won't be developed in 20 years.

The process is dynamic and largely unknown to us (unless someone here has great sources within the Ilitch and Gilbert operations - as their decisions will largely determine the way other dominos fall).

The future of that Hudson site might only be known to God. I doubt anyone can say, "In 5/10/15 years XYZ company will build {something} there."
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Ndavies
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Posted on Friday, June 08, 2007 - 2:43 pm: ††Edit PostDelete Post†††Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

So Dan, how many of the buildings you design happen to be built on greenfield space? Those new buildings you're designing are replacing something.

You may be paid to design new crap, but I think as a part of that, you are destroying the old obsolete stuff to build the new stuff.

So we have old obsolete stuff that no on wants. We just don't have the demand to pay for the replacement yet. So we're tearing down the crap that isn't going to be reused anytime soon.

So which is it are you contributing to sprawl or are you also tearing down obsolete crap to make room for your new stuff?
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Danindc
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Posted on Friday, June 08, 2007 - 2:48 pm: ††Edit PostDelete Post†††Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Most of the work I do is renovations and rehabilitiations of existing buildings. We take the "obsolete old stuff that no one wants" and make it useable.

I know this is a foreign concept to a Detroiter, so I'll let you digest that for a moment.
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Ndavies
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Posted on Friday, June 08, 2007 - 2:52 pm: ††Edit PostDelete Post†††Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

So you never tear down obsolete shit to build new? Now I know you're dreaming.
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Danindc
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Posted on Friday, June 08, 2007 - 2:54 pm: ††Edit PostDelete Post†††Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I can't think of a single project I've worked on where an old building was torn down. Honest to God.
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Ramcharger
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Posted on Friday, June 08, 2007 - 2:58 pm: ††Edit PostDelete Post†††Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I loved Hudsonís downtown store and I feel the building could have been redeveloped into an amazing vertical shopping mall similar to Water Tower Place in Chicago. Unfortunately, Joseph Hudson Jr. didnít have drive or the vision to carry his familyís company into the next century. That being said however, by the time the building was brought down it had become a hulking shell and a definite hindrance to downtown redevelopment. The simple fact is that Compuwareís move downtown and the building of its headquarters was contingent on the removal of the Hudsonís building.
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Yooper
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Posted on Friday, June 08, 2007 - 3:05 pm: ††Edit PostDelete Post†††Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I don't know why you guys even try to argue with DaninDC, because you are looking like fools. He is running circles around everyone with his superior intellect. The East Coast is lucky to have him, and Detroit has suffered a great loss by him being out there. I dare say Detroit will never be a viable city until DaninDC moves here.
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Danindc
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Posted on Friday, June 08, 2007 - 3:06 pm: ††Edit PostDelete Post†††Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

quote:

The simple fact is that Compuwareís move downtown and the building of its headquarters was contingent on the removal of the Hudsonís building.



I maintain that is an overly simplistic point of view. There are vacant buildings in plenty of other cities. They don't all bring the entire city to a grinding halt by their mere presence.

There is no documentation that Compuware would have refused to move downtown were it not for Hudsons.
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Emu_steve
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Posted on Friday, June 08, 2007 - 3:22 pm: ††Edit PostDelete Post†††Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

quote:

"Most of the work I do is renovations and rehabilitiations of existing buildings. We take the "obsolete old stuff that no one wants" and make it useable.

I know this is a foreign concept to a Detroiter, so I'll let you digest that for a moment."

Maybe I'm completely wrong, but I thought D.C. was the classic 'tear-it-down-and-rebuid-from- ground-up' town at least when it comes to office buildings. (housing is a different matter).

I know some stuff which has been saved but I thought D.C. mostly tore down 40 year old box office buildings and replaced it with a new box office building.
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Mbr
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Posted on Friday, June 08, 2007 - 3:24 pm: ††Edit PostDelete Post†††Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I don't think Merchants Row would have moved forward with Hudson's there. Obviously that's tough to prove but that's my feeling.
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Detourdetroit
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Posted on Friday, June 08, 2007 - 3:27 pm: ††Edit PostDelete Post†††Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

the demo of hudson's was shortsighted and wasteful. was that the best use of public money? who has asbestos in their lungs? i still remember the look in roger weber's eyes when he saw the dustcloud approach... kind of like a weird prelude to people on the street on 9/11.
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Danindc
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Posted on Friday, June 08, 2007 - 3:28 pm: ††Edit PostDelete Post†††Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

quote:

Maybe I'm completely wrong, but I thought D.C. was the classic 'tear-it-down-and-rebuid-from- ground-up' town at least when it comes to office buildings. (housing is a different matter).

I know some stuff which has been saved but I thought D.C. mostly tore down 40 year old box office buildings and replaced it with a new box office building



A lot of the crappy K Street office buildings have been torn down, sure. But you simply do not see the city paying for demolitions "in the hope" that something will replace it. Usually, when something gets demo'd in DC, it's because something will replace it. With that said, historic preservation regulations are very strict here.

Again, I will concede that a complete redevelopment of Hudsons would have been difficult, at best. But, the building was constructed in segments, and could have been broken into smaller segments.

The City of Detroit has a terrible reputation for ignoring proposals that don't fall in line with their way of thinking. And the subsidized demolitions certainly do not indicate a sense of business-savvy. No one wants to locate their business or their home on a moonscape.
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Detourdetroit
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Posted on Friday, June 08, 2007 - 3:29 pm: ††Edit PostDelete Post†††Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

i would have been more interested in moving into merchant's row had hudson's remained. but that's just my feeling...
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Eric
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Posted on Friday, June 08, 2007 - 3:36 pm: ††Edit PostDelete Post†††Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

quote:

My question is this: If Hudsons was such a blight, then why is the most attractive site in the CBD not seeing any development whatsoever? To me, it's indicative of the flaws in the scorched earth redevelopment strategy



No it's indicative of the state of Detroit/Michigan economy Even you admitted that the building would be difficult to reused given it size. I think that's especially true in Detroit. If Hudson's wasn't torn down it'd still sitting here today empty ,putting at risk any the development that has taken place on Woodward.

Now you've said it could be reused ,I have some serious doubts about that, the city used every trick to save the Book-Cadillac a building less than half the size Hudson's. So instead of trolling, saying it's reusing buildings is foreign concept to us when you're well aware of the many renovations taking place in the city. How about offering a solution to redevelop 2 million sq ft of vacant space in Detroit.
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Danindc
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Posted on Friday, June 08, 2007 - 3:46 pm: ††Edit PostDelete Post†††Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

quote:

I think that's especially true in Detroit. If Hudson's wasn't torn down it'd still sitting here today empty ,putting at risk any the development that has taken place on Woodward.



Again, where is the basis for this?

Just because you can tear something down doesn't mean you should. For all of these touted "renovations", there is approximately an equal number of buildings that have been torn down. A success rate of 50% is nothing to brag about, especially given the considerable expense the City has squandered on creating unattractive, equally blighted (if not more so) empty lots.
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Gistok
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Posted on Friday, June 08, 2007 - 3:56 pm: ††Edit PostDelete Post†††Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

The Kern Block and the Crowley Block next door to Hudson's have been empty for decades. Sad as the demo of the Hudson's Building was (I was at many of the Save Hudson's fundraisers in the late 90's), the Kern and Crowley Block are now developed.
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Ramcharger
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Posted on Friday, June 08, 2007 - 3:59 pm: ††Edit PostDelete Post†††Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

quote:

There is no documentation that Compuware would have refused to move downtown were it not for Hudsons.


You can chose to believe it or not, never the less, it was common knowledge around here at the time. Pete Karmanos isnít the type of person who keeps his opinions to himself.

(Message edited by Ramcharger on June 08, 2007)
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Danindc
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Posted on Friday, June 08, 2007 - 4:01 pm: ††Edit PostDelete Post†††Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Common knowledge is just that--common. It is by no means authoritative, or grounded in reality.

Hell, it's common knowledge in Kansas that God created the earth in 6 days. That doesn't make it true.
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Mbr
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Posted on Friday, June 08, 2007 - 4:10 pm: ††Edit PostDelete Post†††Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Is downtown better off for tearing down the Hudson's building? I say yes and I think that's all it really boils down to. No use in rehashing what could have or should have been.
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Danindc
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Posted on Friday, June 08, 2007 - 4:14 pm: ††Edit PostDelete Post†††Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

quote:

No use in rehashing what could have or should have been.



Not true. The Hudsons demolition set a precedent for the present scorched earth redevelopment policy. Even if Hudsons was "impeding development", as the demolition supporters claim, how fruitful is it to have to demolish half the downtown just to rebuild half of it? Think about that.
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Jt1
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Posted on Friday, June 08, 2007 - 4:20 pm: ††Edit PostDelete Post†††Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

quote:

A lot of the crappy K Street office buildings have been torn down, sure.



So you are the ultimate judge in regards to what should or should not be torn down. My parents are thinking about tearing their garage down. Should I take a picture and get your approval that it is not too significant to tear down.
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Emu_steve
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Posted on Friday, June 08, 2007 - 5:23 pm: ††Edit PostDelete Post†††Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

"quote:
A lot of the crappy K Street office buildings have been torn down, sure."

Actually Dan and I are together on this one.

K. Street was essentially what I had in mind.

I'd think to an outsider it would seem dumb to tear down something 30 years old (like they do with some box office buildings) and put up something almost identical to it in the same location.
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Burnsie
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Posted on Friday, June 08, 2007 - 5:24 pm: ††Edit PostDelete Post†††Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I think the real tragedy with Hudson's is that Dayton Hudson sold the building to a company with no track record (Southwestern of Canada) and little but promises. If Dayton Hudson had any true sense of community responsibility, it would have kept the building mothballed and with security. The company could have afforded it. Sooner or later, uses for at least parts of it would have been doable-- and more easily with it not being a vandalized wreck.

I know there are people on this forum who will simply say that Dayton Hudson had no such responsibility to continue mothballing the building until a viable developer arrived. Legally, it didn't. But morally, it did-- especially with all its talk of "community responsibility" and "giving back to the community."

It's all water under the bridge now, but part of me will always be angry when I'm reminded of it.

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