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Detroit — Swedish clothing retailer H&M is set to open its highly anticipated store at noon Thursday in the downtown, bringing fast-fashion clothing for men, women and children.

When the doors open at 1505 Woodward, shoppers will have access to casual, work and dress apparel as well as accessories in the 25,000-square-foot space the retailer leases from Bedrock.

“We’re excited to be here,” said Samara D’Auria, media relations manager for H&M. “The one thing about when we come into cities … is about finding the best location possible. I think for a city as unique as Detroit, they were looking for the best location downtown.”

The store occupies three adjoining storefronts on Woodward at the northwest corner at Clifford. The storefronts had been largely vacant for at least a decade.

Shoppers can get everything they would at any other H&M store location in Metro Detroit, including the store's latest holiday season apparel, D’Auria said.

H&M has 19 locations in Michigan, including the one in Detroit.

The store offers clothing selections for women, men and young men on the street level while the lower level offers apparel for young women and children. A historic stairway at the corner of Woodward and Clifford filters natural light down to the lower level. 

“This obviously is one of our newest stores, so there are some finishing updates that we’ve done to kind of appease the shopper,” D’Auria said. “A little bit more room, more spaciousness than some of our older stores. A lot of plants to give you that relaxed feeling.”

Preparing the building for H&M's arrival was two years in the making, according to Southfield-based architecture firm JGA. 

Remodels to each of the buildings over the years resulted in repatched floors that were uneven and badly sloping, according to the firm. 

“Modern building design has a lot more systems to incorporate, and when you have to thread them through historic structures and knit three stores together, you need to get creative to still have useable space with decent headroom and clearance,” said Ed Doyle, JGA’s vice president of studio operations.

The store is a boost for the downtown retail scene. Retail experts have said H&M is one of those flagship retail stores that draws other big-name companies.

H&M is considered a heavyweight, said Ken Dalto, a Metro Detroit retail industry analyst.

“It’s new,” he said. “It’s not old. It’s not your mother or father’s store. What that shows me is that Detroit is getting more known as a place to go, trendier, urban, safe and populated by not just singles, but families in that area.”

The store is the largest retailer in Bedrock's portfolio as well as its most family-oriented, said Matt Cullen, CEO of Bedrock.

Walking distance from the historic Hudson's site, the store occupies space that was once home to the Richman Brothers clothing store, the Grinnell Brothers Music and the Sanders candy store, Cullen said.

"It's cool it's going back into the historic clothing district to the city between Hudson's and the Kern's store and B. Seigel and the others," he said. "It's kind of cool to have it back in the neighborhood."

cwilliams@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @CWilliams_DN

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