Ilitches Plan to Rebuild Detroit
Mike Ilitch, the owner of Little Caesars Pizza, Detroit Red Wings, and the Detroit Tigers, has proposed a $650 million development plan for a new hockey and multipurpose events center in the city of Detroit: “From the time we bought the Fox Theatre, I could envision a downtown where the streets were bustling and people were energized.”
The Ilitch family’s Olympia Development arm presented the plan Tuesday to the state Senate panel, who, in a 5-0 vote, approved the proposition. According to Rep. John Walsh of Livonia, the Senate panel’s approval will allow Olympia Development to apply for almost $13 million in funds from the Detroit Downtown Development Authority.
John Walsh, an attorney at Fausone Bohn, LLP in Northville, Michigan, is the legislative sponsor.
The development plan would include a new hockey arena for the Detroit Red Wings, one to replace Joe Louis; however, the arena would be combined with a multipurpose events center. Walsh stated that the proposed center would be located near Fox Theatre and Comerica Park – creating a new retail, residential, and mixed-use commercial district.
The proposed project is estimated to have quite an impact on Detroit’s economy, both during its construction and after its opening. The project would create approximately 5,500 jobs for the arena construction, while construction of the mixed-use commercial district would create another 2,750 jobs. After its opening, Olympia Development estimates that the multipurpose events center would bring 1,100 jobs and upwards of $210 million in annual economic impact to the city of Detroit – a boost the city seems to so desperately need. Detroit Mayor Dave Bing states that the proposed project could be “a vital contribution to a more vibrant downtown,” one that could lead to a stronger economy.
The project, however, is dependant upon the approval of $12.8 million from Detroit’s Downtown Development Authority. Detroit’s DDA taxes businesses for such bond and development projects. The “repurposing of existing revenue” is not a tax increase, Walsh said.
The project, especially its long-term impact, could positively affect the city. The proposed project could increase the desirability of living in Detroit, drawing more residents into the core areas of the city. The Ilitch family may be onto something in an attempt to revitalize the city of Detroit.
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