Hudson’s site groundbreaking: Detroit’s going vertical

Paul W. Smith

“Outta’ My Mind on a Monday Moanin’”

It began like no other groundbreaking I’ve ever experienced. Mike Ellison, Delaney “D-Love” Ragland and fellow University of Michigan alum, Kresge fellow and master drummer Chi Amen-Ra took the stage by storm. After getting the assembled on their feet, raising arms, swaying and rapping along, it was my turn to take the stage as the emcee of the official start of Bedrock’s billion-dollar iconic development on the hallowed ground of the once mighty J.L. Hudson’s, holder of a billion memories, almost 35 years after closing.

Patriarch J.L. Hudson’s family members attended and grandnephew Joe Hudson took the stage to a very warm welcome; it was extra special to see him and his family included and happy to be ushering in a significant part of our future.

“Today, downtown Detroit is officially going vertical” said Dan Gilbert, Bedrock founder and chairman. “Not only do we need projects like this one to meet the significant demand for office, residential and retail in downtown, but this development becomes the 21st century version of what Hudson’s was to metropolitan Detroit for so many decades in the 20th century. In addition to creating opportunities for all Detroiters, this project will put our city on the radar of world-class technology companies like Amazon and others.” (Are you listening, Amazon?)

I simply said we are finally fixing a hole in the heart of downtown Detroit.

Among others, Mayor Mike Duggan, Lt. Gov. Brian Calley and Mike Aaron, business manager, Laborers’ Local 1191, each shared their pride and role in this landmark moment. Hope I’m invited to the ribbon-cutting in about 2022. And I hope they serve Maurice Salad.

Paul W. Smith is host of The Paul W. Smith Show on WJR-AM (760) from 5:30-9 a.m. Monday-Friday.