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Gilbert firm could buy parking garage for Hudson’s site

Christine Ferretti
The Detroit News

Detroit — A city-owned parking garage could be acquired by a Dan Gilbert firm as part of a development deal for the former Hudson’s site on Woodward.

In a statement, Tom Lewand, group executive for the Duggan administration’s jobs and economy team, confirmed that the prospect is on the table.

Lewand noted that the Downtown Development Authority during a public meeting in March extended through 2016 a development agreement that had originally been executed in September 2010 with a Bedrock affiliate.

“This agreement included a provision that would allow for the acquisition of the Premier Garage as part of a larger development of the Hudson’s Block,” he said. “Those discussions are ongoing.”

A spokeswoman for Rock Companies, an arm of the Rock Ventures and Quicken Loans family of companies, confirmed Thursday that acquisition of the 900-space garage has always been contemplated as an integral part of the site’s development. The company did not disclose any dollar figures being discussed for the transaction.

Rock Companies founder and CEO Jeff Cohen said they will continue to work with the city on all steps necessary to proceed with the Hudson site development.

“This includes the acquisition of the underground Premier Garage,” Cohen said in a released statement. “We are making great progress on our pre-development work and looking forward to being able to provide a substantive update in the near future.”

The Premier Underground Garage, located beneath the Hudson’s site, was the second largest of six garages that had been owned by the city.

Under a settlement reached with its largest bankruptcy creditor, Detroit gave bond insurer Financial Insurance Guaranty Co. land now occupied by the Joe Louis Arena and its 2,100-space parking garage.

The deal resolved FGIC’s $1.1 billion claim against the city over a troubled pension debt backed by former Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick.

A second creditor, Syncora Guarantee Inc., reached a separate deal with Detroit that in part granted it a lease of a parking garage underneath Grand Circus Park.

A conceptual plan for an iconic new structure at the old Hudson’s site was released in March. The designs revealed a swooping glass structure for retail, housing and office space. The development rights for the land are controlled by an affiliate of Gilbert’s Bedrock Real Estate Services.

A final development and financing plan for the Hudson’s site is anticipated by Dec. 31. On Thursday, the company said it is working through its development schedule with the city.