Mar 13, 2024 - Real Estate

What will the Hudson's Site be called when it opens?

Hudson's Site from street level.

The Hudson's tower from Woodward Avenue downtown. Photo: Annalise Frank/Axios

It's unclear what place the historic "Hudson's" name will have when Dan Gilbert's skyscraper opens on the iconic old department store site.

Why it matters: The highly anticipated $1.4 billion development, set to be Michigan's second tallest after the RenCen, has been unnamed since Gilbert's real estate arm, Bedrock, broke ground in 2017.

  • Although it's been referred to as the "Hudson's Site" for years, a new name is likely when it opens because "site" feels incomplete, says Kees Janeway, a local commercial real estate professional.

Driving the news: The development has faced challenges registering Hudson's-related trademarks, the Free Press reported.

We asked for Bedrock's comment on the skyscraper's name but didn't hear back.

Between the lines: Some hesitation when companies first apply for trademarks is pretty common, a University of Detroit Mercy School of Law professor told the Free Press.

What they're saying: If Jim Bieri, a longtime local retail real estate expert, was making the decisions with Bedrock, he says he would definitely try to keep "Hudson's" in the name — as long as the trademark was cleared legally.

  • He remembers visiting Hudson's decades ago, eating Maurice salads for lunch.
  • "When people come to naming sites in real estate, if there's a positive feeling that is already in the community … it doesn't hurt to take advantage of that," says Bieri, principal of Stokas Bieri Real Estate.
  • "It could maybe end up being the '[brand name] Hotel at Hudson's Square,' you know, they could do some combination like that. … Or 'at Hudson's Block.'"

Similarly, Janeway, managing partner of Iconic Real Estate, says Hudson's is an "incredible brand identity."

  • However, there's a chance the large office tenants Bedrock is targeting would want to advertise by purchasing naming rights for the development, he says.

State of play: The project's construction has experienced delays. Most recently, as of last year, an opening was expected by the end of 2024.

  • The 685.4-foot tower sits alongside a shorter base building on the same site. They'll offer office, retail, restaurant, hotel, residential and event space.

Flashback: Downtown's iconic, 2.1-million-square-foot J.L. Hudson department store on Woodward Avenue closed in 1983 after 90 years, according to the Free Press. It was demolished in 1998.

  • The property remained empty until Bedrock bought it in 2016.
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