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Ilitch Proposes New ‘Events District’ In Downtown Detroit, Could Be New Red Wings Home

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Mike and Marian Ilitch (credit: Getty Images)

Mike and Marian Ilitch (credit: Getty Images)

DETROIT (CBS Detroit)–The Ilitch organization announced Tuesday it is taking a step forward to “explore the viability” of a partnership to create a major new development in downtown Detroit anchored by a state-of-the-art, multi-purpose events center.

Could it be a new home for the Detroit Red Wings? Ilitch isn’t saying it, but many hope so.

“It’s always been my dream to once again see a vibrant downtown Detroit,” said Mike Ilitch, chairman, Ilitch Holdings, Inc., in a press release. “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.”

This would be another substantial investment in the development of a new residential, retail, office and entertainment district in downtown Detroit, adding to the more than $1.9 billion the Ilitch companies have already invested.

“We have a tremendous opportunity through a large-scale project to make a positive impact on our community,” said Christopher Ilitch, president and CEO of Ilitch Holdings, Inc.  “A project of this magnitude requires continued due diligence and a strategic partnership with the public sector.  Working together we can ensure this opportunity connects Detroit’s existing set of initiatives and assets strengthening the downtown core and enhancing the image of our city, state and region.”

The sum of the total mixed-use development in the district, including residential, retail, office facilities and events center, is approximately $650 million, which incorporates a significant private investment supplemented by existing dollars currently collected by the DDA supporting economic development and requiring no new taxes, the Ilitch team said.

“This plan makes good business sense for two reasons,” said George W. Jackson, Jr., president and CEO of Detroit Economic Growth Corporation.  “First, it’s not a plan for an isolated, single-use structure.  Instead, it builds on the clear successes we’ve already had downtown integrating districts that feature entertainment, and support commercial, retail and residential development around them.  Second, it doesn’t impose any new tax burdens; it simply continues a program for retiring debt related to economic development.  It’s hard to argue with that.”

The building of the new district is anticipated to create approximately 5,500 jobs for the events center alone and approximately 8,300 jobs for the entire residential and commercial mixed-use district. Michigan can anticipate an estimated economic impact of $1.8 billion from the completion of this district.

While the exact location of the district has not been determined, the Ilitch team says it will be “strategically located to serve some of the most underutilized areas in Detroit’s downtown core, strengthening the link between Detroit’s existing assets through a continuous, walkable environment connecting one district to the next and serving to improve the quality of life for residents and visitors alike.”

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