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Barton Malow tops out tower on $1.4B Detroit development


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Dive Brief:

  • Southfield, Michigan-based builder Barton Malow announced it topped out the Hudson’s Detroit project on April 11, the largest ground-up development in the city in 50 years, according to the contractor. The total cost of the project is $1.4 billion, according to the Detroit Free Press.
  • The new complex is built on the site of the old J.L. Hudson’s flagship department store, which first opened in 1911 and closed in 1983, according to Historic Detroit. The development contains more than 1.5 million square feet of office, retail, food and beverage, hotel, residential, event and parking space, per Barton Malow’s project page.
  • In addition to the retail and office space, an adjacent 685-foot tower will feature luxury residential living space and the city’s first five-star hotel, according to the project description. Once completed, it will be Detroit’s first skyscraper development in decades.

Dive Insight:

The office block, which topped out two years ago, is closer to completion, the Free Press reported. Once it’s finished in 2025, auto giant and Detroit industry stalwart General Motors will relocate its headquarters to the office.

To make way for the two structures, the contractor began the project by demolishing an existing parking deck, per the project page. From there, the firm installed 161 caissons and building columns at the foundation level and concrete decks followed as the team built up to street level.

“We are grateful to have the opportunity to work on this historic site and build a project that transforms the downtown Detroit landscape,” said Ryan Maibach, Barton Malow’s president & CEO, in the release. “This is an important moment that represents another big step towards completion and a momentous occasion for the city.”

Detroit is seeing a boom in development as the city continues to move beyond the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic — in November last year, Detroit had nearly $3 billion worth of developments under construction, and 25 more projects in the pipeline, according to a report from the Downtown Detroit Partnership.

However, that doesn’t mean all work is in great shape — the city and private developers pushed back the construction timeline on the $1.5 billion District Detroit mixed-use project in March, which the developer blamed on the lending environment for office projects.



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