“From California to Pennsylvania, Australia to Vietnam, Detroit continues to inspire creative minds across the U.S. and around the world. …The Opportunity Detroit campaign invited Detroiters and citizens of the world to imagine the possibilities for one of downtown Detroit’s long-vacant, most significant pieces of real estate: the site of the old Hudson’s Department Store.

“The creative and architectural communities were invited to give us their ideas for what could be built on the site through the Redesigning Detroit: A New Vision for an Iconic Site competition. More than 1,000 people from around the globe registered, and nearly 200 of them submitted ideas. In total 23 states and 22 other countries were represented. A panel of five distinguished architects and urban planning experts from across the country judged the entries. The “Redesigning Detroit” juried competition awarded $15,000 for first place, $5,000 for second place and $2,500 for third place.

The winners are:

First Place: “MINICITY Detroit, Davide Marchetti and Erin Pellegrino; Rome, Italy 

Second Place: “Detroit Entrepreneurial Center (DEC),” Efrain Velez, Juan Nunez, Marko Kanceljak; Kalamazoo, Michigan

Third Place: “Highwave Detroit,” Team Rossetti/Metrogramma; Southfield (soon to be Detroit), Michigan

“Redesigning Detroit” [was] intended to generate innovative ideas for the re-use of one of the most important building sites in Detroit’s rapidly redeveloping downtown. The “Redesigning Detroit” Competition will culminate with cash awards, a significant ceremony in the city, and an exhibition.”

“For generations, Hudson’s (also known as the “Big Store” and “J. L. Hudson’s”) was the premier retailer in downtown Detroit, and one of the most important department stores in the country. The massive flagship store anchored the bustling Woodward Avenue shopping corridor, and at 25 stories was the tallest department store in the world. It was second in overall size only to Macy’s New York, and that by a mere 26,000 square feet. Growing from modest beginnings in the Detroit Opera House, Hudson’s broke ground in 1891, ultimately undergoing 12 expansions, with final additions in 1946 extending the store over an entire city block. Hudson’s was designed in a style reminiscent of the early Chicago School, and was constructed of steel, brick, granite, and limestone. Detroit and Hudson’s reached their zenith in the 1950’s and 1960’s, but were both in decline by the middle 1970’s. Hudson’s closed its doors in 1983, and the building was imploded in 1998, leaving a large vacant space in the heart of this great American city.

“Downtown Detroit now finds itself enjoying a renaissance. In 2003, software giant Compuware moved its headquarters and 4,000 employees into a new 18 story building between the Hudson’s site and nearby Campus Martius Park. Since August of 2010, Quicken Loans and the Rock Ventures family of companies have moved to the same area, bringing 7,500 team members to work in the heart of the city.

“General Motors undertook a substantial renovation of John Portman’s iconic Renaissance Center in 2004, bringing their downtown employment to 9,000. The area also includes more than 3,000 employees in Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Buildings in the Renaissance Center and beyond. These 25,000 new downtowners have been joined by an influx of cultural facilities such as the Michigan Opera Theater, galleries, restaurants, and retailers, the Riverwalk, and two new professional sports stadiums that opened in 1999 and 2002. The beautifully-restored Fox Theater continues to anchor the entertainment and theater district as it has since the 1980s. All of this activity parallels an upsurge in downtown living by a young generation of entrepreneurs centered in the high-tech and arts communities, injecting the central city with a burst of energy – the likes of which it hasn’t seen in decades. Downtown Detroit is once again a place of opportunity and excitement.

“And now, 30 years after the closing of Hudson’s and 15 years since the demolition of its building, Opportunity Detroit is hosting an open call for architects, designers, planners, artists, and community members to present innovative ideas for the future use of this pivotal, historic property. While downtown Detroit does not need to recreate a flagship department store, the sponsors of this Competition invite participants to use their imaginations in proposing possible uses for the site. Should it be an office tower? Apartments? A performance venue? Some combination of the above? Or something altogether different? The Opportunity Detroit team is looking for visionary proposals, inspiring ideas that could play an important role in the redevelopment of not only the Hudson’s site, but all of downtown Detroit as well.”

-Information and text quoted from OPPORTUNITY DETROIT.COM