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Posted on Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 10:08 a.m.

Mike Ilitch proposes new hockey arena and entertainment district with hopes of drawing fans to downtown Detroit

By Kyle Austin


The proposed site of the new downtown Detroit arena.

Tanya Moutzalias |

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.


Frustrated in A2

Fri, Jun 21, 2013 : 5:24 p.m.

I'd love to see the Pistons come to downtown also!!!

Kyle Austin

Fri, Jun 21, 2013 : 9:30 p.m.

I wouldn't mind that either, that Auburn Hills commute isn't short


Fri, Jun 21, 2013 : 4:48 p.m.

So if they are going to have this kind of money do this Detroit. maybe the Yankee Air Museum could solicit some from funds them? Who knows. All I know is that kind of change cannot be had by anyone without a good funding source.

Nicholas Urfe

Fri, Jun 21, 2013 : 3:19 p.m.

More corporate welfare for billionaires. Paid for on the backs of working class taxpayers.


Fri, Jun 21, 2013 : 3:10 p.m.

You couldn't pay me enough to go to Detroit for anything.


Sat, Jun 22, 2013 : 4:06 p.m.

Could not agree more with you there. Detroit is not worth saving at any cost. I can't remember the last time I felt safe going downtown anywhere. I'd like to know how much these newscasters pay these people to say I feel safe down here. Uh huh....don't think so.


Fri, Jun 21, 2013 : 4:52 p.m.

Your loss, the city has wonderful things to do. I'm going to river walk tomorrow to participate in River Days. Don't let fear and ignorance run your life

Milton Shift

Fri, Jun 21, 2013 : 12:49 p.m.

It's like the rich guy in the expensive tux telling the starving beggar that he's sorry, but he has nothing to give, on the way to a meal that will set him back four figures. Except in this case, the rich guy first took his money from the beggar.

Milton Shift

Fri, Jun 21, 2013 : 1:42 p.m.

Employment opportunities paid for with taxes on their own paychecks. What a great deal that is. And 1200 times 50,000 is 60 million, a mere 21% of the $286 million that will come from public dollars. What is the expected average salary for these workers anyway? I'll bet it's considerably less than $50k. Next up for discussion in the rational sanity zone, we explore the design of perpetual motion machines, the proverbial free lunch, and the government coverup.

r treat

Fri, Jun 21, 2013 : 1:38 p.m.

Wrong! You forgot to mention that 1200 beggar's will have employment opportunities. Have you heard of ROI? Run the numbers.

Milton Shift

Fri, Jun 21, 2013 : 12:45 p.m.

Left out of this article is the critical fact that $286 million in public funds will be used to subsidize this billionaire's construction of a stadium that he will privately own and profit from. I thought Detroit had no money?

Nicholas Urfe

Fri, Jun 21, 2013 : 12:33 p.m.

So how much does he want state taxpayers to pay for his new playground?

Milton Shift

Fri, Jun 21, 2013 : 1:18 p.m.

It's a playground for us, and a handout for him. He gets to charge us to play, and we paid to built it. He's screaming "suckers!" all the way to the bank. A billionaire should not be taking from the public, a billionaire should be giving. Or we should be taking.

Brenda Byrne

Fri, Jun 21, 2013 : 10:21 a.m.

This is almost as great of an idea as the taxpayers building the Pontiac Silverdome! How long has that been vacant?


Fri, Jun 21, 2013 : 3:55 a.m.

Say what you want about Mike Illitch, but he was never shaken down by Kwame Kilpatrick.


Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 5:51 p.m.

The potential impact to U of M hockey or the new BIG Hockey Conference nor the GLI should not change. The new Downtown DET arena would want to have as many collegiate hockey events as possible. As for bring more folks into Downtown DET; I doubt it.


Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 5:26 p.m.

Why would they downsize the seating capacity from over 20,000 to 18,000? Can anyone say increased ticket prices? -__-


Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 9:35 p.m. 20130620/BIZ/306200040


Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 8:36 p.m.

For a more thorough explanation:

Dog Guy

Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 3:37 p.m.

I'm taxed to buy Mike Illitch a new baseball stadium and now shall be taxed "an estimated public investment of $284.5 million" to buy him a new hockey stadium. Some entrepreneurs work with their own money. I miss the reach-out-and-touch closeness of Olympia's balconies and also miss the tax megabucks given to Mike Illitch by his Lansing friends.


Fri, Jun 21, 2013 : 8:25 a.m.

"...therefore become an asset to the entire state..." Actually johnmy, they become an asset to the children of the 1% that are students.


Fri, Jun 21, 2013 : 3:56 a.m.

@ A2 citizen, UM building is being paid for by UM VOLUNTARY contributions. These are also buildings of a STATE OWNED organization (UM) and therefore become an asset to the entire state. Comerica, Ford Field and Joe Louis Arena are EXPENSES that the state pays out and increase the wealth of the 1%. If Bill Davidson can build a basketball facility, why can;t a man wealthy enough to own TWO professional sports teams fund a new hockey arena? It is not that he can't, it is that he WONT. Why pay for it yourself when somebody else can pay for it. It is PURE corporate welfare. Any right winger who ever uses one of these facilities cannever tell me about "welfare queens" until they stop padding wallets of much bigger welfare queens like Illitch


Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 8:29 p.m.

Are you complaining as a Wayne County resident or a state of Michigan resident? How do you feel about being taxed to support the u-m building around town? The U-M gets over $300 million per year, Comerica cost $300 million to build. (360 in the end). Ilitch put up $185 million. Public funding was $110 million. Michigan Strategic Fund gave $55 million Wayne County gave $60 million I don't know the finer details but maybe the $66 million Comerica gave for naming rights covered the cost overruns.


Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 4:26 p.m.

Bill Davidson built the Palace with 100% private funding. We'll have to listen to Mike Ilitch beg for money until his new stadium is built.


Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 4:12 p.m.

Could be worse. It could be for the Pistons.


Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 3:11 p.m.

He's been trying to do this since the days of Coleman Young and I hope he gets the chance. I don't think there was a chance until now - we'll have to see how far he gets. I wish him good luck.


Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 2:59 p.m.

Amazing how the link to UM just popped up at the end with no real conclusion to the notion that changes could be coming. What changes? How does this affect UM hockey? Do you think Olympia Entertainment or the City of Detroit (who would own the new arena) would not allow the B1G or the GLI to play in the new stadium? Yet another regurgitated article by


Fri, Jun 21, 2013 : 1:58 p.m.

yeah, teeters, either step up or s*** up!!!!!


Fri, Jun 21, 2013 : 3:50 a.m.

RIDICULOUS. Everything you needed to know was int he article. He PROPOSED an arena. Projecting or predicting what may or may not happen to future events when there has not even been the first approval of ANY kind on this is . GOOD journalists report what is known, not speculation, which seems to be what you prefer.


Fri, Jun 21, 2013 : 12:20 a.m.

Hey Teeters - if you can do it better than do so. These journalists take so much heat from people here and I know that their job isn't easy. I have no training in their field, but I respect them for doing the job they're asked to do. Not everyone is perfect, but everyone wants to scrutinize everything. Good article Kyle, thanks for providing me this FREE information.


Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 5:34 p.m.

Yet none of your reply was in your original article. Great information that would have made the article more informative.

Kyle Austin

Thu, Jun 20, 2013 : 3:14 p.m.

Teeters, everything with this project is very preliminary, and the answers to most of your questions won't be known for some time. This project won't be completed for 4-5 years at the earliest. One would think that since the new arena will have the same management company as the Joe that the legacy events there like the GLI would have a good chance to stick around. But organizers have made it clear they want to attract concerts and entertainment to the venue, which could be an issue if dates conflict and the entertainment events are more lucrative. We will have to wait and see.