04/15/2013 10:24 am ET

Ilitch Has Turned Swaths Of Downtown Into A Wasteland

All eyes were on Grand Circus Park and areas south recently with the big construction kickoff at the David Whitney Building and Dan Gilbert's press release extravaganza and bonus primer on placemaking (with renderings!) With the quickening of the downtown real estate market, Detroit is witnessing something it hasn't seen in quite a while: an aggressive push by stakeholders to actually make things happen.

This rapid activity draws a sharp contrast to the glacial pace of development we find in the areas just north of Grand Circus Park, specifically those controlled by the longest-enduring member of Detroit's real estate plutocracy, Mike Ilitch, the founder and owner of Little Caesars Pizza. But you, dear sports fan, probably know him best as the owner of the NHL team, the Detroit Red Wings and the MLB team, the Detroit Tigers. (His wife is the owner of MotorCity Casino).

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