Sports team owner and pizza billionaire Mike Ilitch wants to carve out another slice of downtown Detroit. Officials from Ilitich's Olympia Development company shared plans with state legislators Tuesday to develop a downtown district that would be comprised of residential, retail and office facilities and anchored by "a new state-of-the-art, multi-purpose events center."
The new events center could be home to a new hockey arena thought to be in the works for the Detroit Red Wings.
The development would create an estimated 5,500 jobs for the events center alone and about 8,300 jobs total, according to an Olympia Development release. The company estimates the economic impact will be $1.8 billion for the state of Michigan. The development would cost approximately $650 million and would be financed with both public and private funds.
A Senate committee is currently considering House Bill 5463, which would amend the city's Downtown Development Authority Act. Under the legislation "a downtown development authority would be exempt from all taxation on its earnings or property, and instruments of conveyance from a DDA would be exempt from transfer taxes," according to a Senate Fiscal Analysis.
Ilitich founded the Little Caesars Pizza chain with his wife Marian Ilitch and owns both the Detroit Tigers baseball team and the Detroit Red Wings hockey team. The family has an estimated net worth of $2.7 billion, according to Forbes.
In 1987 he bought the dilapidated Fox Theatre and later restored it at a time when there were few development projects downtown.
“It’s always been my dream to once again see a vibrant downtown Detroit,” Ilitch said. “From the time we bought the Fox Theatre, I could envision a downtown where the streets were bustling and people were energized. It’s going to happen and I want to keep us moving toward that vision.”
An exact location for the development has not yet been determined. The company states that it would be strategically placed to serve "underutilized areas in Detroit’s downtown core" and create a "continuous, walkable environment" connecting existing Detroit assets.