Mike Ilitch proposes new hockey arena and entertainment district with hopes of drawing fans to downtown Detroit
Tanya Moutzalias | MLive.com
A proposed new hockey arena in downtown Detroit could reshape the sports and entertainment landscape in Southeast Michigan.
Plans for an 18,000-seat hockey arena as part of a $650 million downtown development were unveiled at a Downtown Development Authority ,eeting Wednesday, according to Mlive.
The arena would serve as the home of the Detroit Red Wings, who currently play at Joe Louis Arena. The project is being led by Olympia Development and Mike Ilitch, who owns the Red Wings and Detroit Tigers.
Plans call for the 650,000-square-foot arena to be built on Woodward Avenue from Sproat to Henry Street. The entire entertainment district, which includes office and retail development, would span 45 blocks downtown.
According to the Free Press, Ilitch hopes a new arena will draw people from around the region and state to downtown Detroit.
"It's always been my dream to once again see a vibrant downtown Detroit," Ilitch said in a statement, according to the Free Press. "From the time we bought the Fox Theatre, I could envision a downtown where the streets were bustling and people were energized. It's been a slow process at times, but we're getting there now, and a lot of great people are coming together to make it happen. It's going to happen, and I want to keep us moving toward that vision."
A potential new downtown hockey arena could mean changes for the University of Michigan’s hockey team. The Wolverines have played at least one game at Joe Louis Arena every year since 1974 in the Great Lakes Invitational tournament in late December.
Michigan has also played the CCHA tournament at Joe Louis Arena since the early 1980’s, and often played regular-season games against Michigan State downtown. Michigan will join the Big Ten conference for hockey next season, and the conference tournament is scheduled to rotate between Detroit and Saint Paul, Minn., through at least 2017.