Looks like the Detroit Red Wings are really going to leave their riverfront digs for a new downtown Detroit arena. The city's Downtown Development Authority announced a plan and approved a memorandum of understanding to build a new home for the Original Six hockey club, owned by Olympia Entertainment founder, pizza magnate and Detroit Tigers owner Mike Ilitch.
The 18,000-seat arena will pack 650,000 square feet of total event center space north of Comerica Park and Ford Field, in the area long rumored to be eyed for a new hockey stadium.
"We will have incorporated all three of our major league sports venues into an exciting, walkable sports and entertainment district that will rival anything in the world,” said George W. Jackson, Jr., president and CEO of Detroit Economic Growth Corporation, which managed negotiations on behalf of the DDA.
The construction area lies along Woodward Avenue between Temple Street and the Fisher Freeway. The district would include a $450 million sports and entertainment center and $200 million in new residential, retail and office development in an approximately 45-block area stretching from Grand Circus Park to Charlotte St. between Woodward Ave. and Grand River Ave., according to a statement released by the Downtown Development Authority.
View New Red Wings Arena in a larger map. The orange area shows the location of the event center, and the blue outline shows the "catalyst development area," where the $200 million of new development will be located.
Detroit Mayor Dave Bing expressed excitement about the plans.
“I’m extremely pleased that a framework has been established for the development of a new downtown arena and a commercial, entertainment and residential district that will continue to add momentum to the transformation of our city.”
The new arena boasts a smaller capacity than the 20,058-seat Joe Louis Arena, which opened in 1979. Joe Louis Arena is currently the National Hockey League's fourth-oldest hockey venue.
It will be owned by the DDA and managed by Olympia Development. The arena will be funded with $285 million of public money.
“A project of this scale requires strong commitments from both private and public partners," said Jackson. "That’s exactly what this agreement represents.”
Plans for an entertainment district mentioned under the memorandum of understanding include the following options, included in the DDA statement obtained by The Huffington Post:
- A 140,000 sq. ft. new mixed office and retail development on Woodward at Sproat St.
- A 25,000 sq. ft. office and retail development along Woodward
- Several parking structures with a total of 25,000 sq. ft. of retail
- Renovation of the Detroit Life Building at 2210 Park Ave. for 3,645 sq. ft. of retail and 35 residential units
- Renovation of the Blenheim Building at 81 W. Columbia St. for 1,833 sq. ft. of retail and 16 residential units
- Renovation of the building at 1922 Cass for 70,000 sq. ft. of office space
- A new hotel-retail development with a 20,000 sq. ft. ground floor
- Parking lots and other amenities
"This is more tangible proof of the very real business and employment opportunities in Detroit’s future, which is important to highlight as the city works through its financial challenges," said Detroit Regional Chamber President and CEO Sandy K. Baruah.