J. L. Hudson Department Store and Addition
|J.L. Hudson Building|
Postcard c. 1951
|Type||Retail, Office space|
|Location||1206 Woodward Avenue
|Closed||January 17, 1983 to October 1986|
|Demolished||October 1997 to October 24, 1998|
|Antenna spire||520 ft (160 m)|
|Roof||439 ft (134 m)|
|Floor area||723,422 sq ft (67,208.1 m2)|
|Design and construction|
|Architect||Smith, Hinchman, & Grylls|
The J.L. Hudson Building ("Hudson's") was a department store located at 1206 Woodward Avenue in downtown Detroit, Michigan. It was constructed beginning in 1911, with additions throughout the years, before being "completed" in 1946, and named after the company's founder, Joseph Lowthian Hudson. Hudson's first building on the site opened in 1891 but was demolished in 1923 for a new structure. It was the flagship store for the Hudson's chain. The building was demolished by Homrich Demolition in a controlled demolition on October 24, 1998, with many people in Hart Plaza (Detroit) and Dieppe Gardens (Windsor, Ontario) watching from safe distances.
Designed by Smith, Hinchman, & Grylls, Hudson's consisted of approximately 33 levels: five basements, main floor, mezzanine, 2nd through 15th floors, 15 1/2 floor, 16th through 21st floors, 21 1/2 floor, and 22nd through 25th floors. Only the upper two basements through the 12th floor covered the entire footprint of the structure. A tower rose over 400 feet above the Farmer Street side. On all four sides, porcelain-covered copper letters spelled "HUDSON'S" in red neon.
Hudson's boasted about 2.2 million sq. ft. of retail and office space, included several restaurants and was built in the Chicago School architectural style. The facade was red brick above the second floor. Below that, it consisted of polished pink granite panels. Terra-cotta cornices and rosettes were extensively employed, along with ornamental ironwork. "JLH"-emblazoned ovals decorated frosted windows on the mezzanine and 3rd through 5th floors.
The building measured 439 feet (134 m) tall from its second basement to the top of the penthouse tower. It was also topped by a 110 feet (34 m) high flagpole.
The store closed January 17, 1983 (at the nadir of downtown Detroit's decline).
After closure, Hudson's maintained its headquarters staff of about 1,100 in the downtown store. In May 1984, The J.L. Hudson Co. formally merged into the Department Store Division of the Dayton Hudson Corp., although Hudson's stores continued to carry the Hudson's name. All executive and buying positions transferred to Minneapolis, and other staff moved to space at the Northland store in Southfield. The last corporate department in the downtown Detroit building, credit operations, moved in October 1986. Dayton Hudson sold the building in December 1989.
Hudson's was demolished by Controlled Demolition, Inc. at exactly 5:47 pm, October 24, 1998. 20,000 people watched as the building was imploded — turning it into a 60-foot (18 m) tall pile of debris. The demolition accidentally damaged a section of the elevated Detroit People Mover in downtown Detroit.
- Tallest department store / retail building in the world.
- Second largest department store building in the United States, exceeded by Macy's Herald Square in New York City.
- Tallest building to have a controlled implosion.
- Largest building to have a controlled implosion.
Many restoration efforts were proposed before demolition. Demolition was controversial as many in the area had great emotional attachments to the building and chain.
- Google Maps location of J.L. Hudson Department Store and Addition (Now Premier Parking Garage)
- J.L. Hudson Department Store and Addition at Emporis.com
- SkyscraperPage.com's Profile on J.L Hudson Department Store and Addition
- Full details of the J.L. Hudson building's demolition by Homrich Demolition
- World Record for tallest steel framed building ever imploded
- Video of J.L. Hudson Department Store Implosion