DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – The Detroit Red Wings and city officials have announced a $650 million plan for a new arena for the NHL team in the city’s downtown entertainment and sports district.

The project was announced Wednesday at a meeting of economic development officials who approved the tentative deal.

The plan by Olympia Development — which officials say would be supported by 56 percent in private money and 44 percent in public funding —  includes an 18,000-seat Red Wings arena along Woodard Avenue, just north of the Fox Theatre.

That’s north of I-75, nearby the Detroit Tigers’ Comerica Park and the Detroit Lions’ Ford Field.

Red Wings and Tigers owner Mike Ilitch has long said that he wants a replacement for the 32-year-old Joe Louis Arena.

Along with the  multipurpose event center, plans for the entertainment district also include housing, office, retail space and parking decks.

The new district anticipates expanding the boundaries of the Detroit Development Authority several blocks north of I-75 and west of Woodward Ave. to accommodate the center, redeveloping several properties, building new parking decks and mixed-use developments.

According to the Detroit Economic Growth Corp., the new development 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 project, the DEGC said.

This map outlines the location. (credit: Detroit Downtown Development Authority)

This map outlines the location. (credit: Detroit Downtown Development Authority)

“We have outlined a deal that will do far more than build new home ice for the Red Wings. When it’s done, it will redefine Detroit’s Downtown. 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 DEGC, which managed negotiations on behalf of the DDA.

“A project of this scale requires strong commitments from both private and public partners, and that’s exactly what this agreement represents,” Jackson said, adding,“Today’s agreement represents one step among many that all the partners have to take together, but it is a very significant step.”

Specifically, other additional projects could include, according to the DEGC:

• 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

Wednesday’s announcement comes following several years of “mysterious” land deals in a blighted area nearby the planned location, adjacent to  four empty blocks of Woodward Ave. owned by the city.

Touting the project last December, the Ilitch team said it the new arena would 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.”

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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