DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – The Detroit City Council has scheduled a special meeting for March 31 to vote on a new hockey lease for Joe Louis Arena, which is slated to be replaced as venue for the Detroit Red Wings.
Councilwoman Brenda Jones announced the meeting Monday at a meeting of the council’s Health and Safety Standing Committee.
The proposed lease with Olympia Entertainment would expire on June 30, 2015. It would be retroactive to 2010 when the old lease expired.
Detroit owns Joe Louis Arena, but — under the terms of the lease — it would stay dark after the Wings leave until it’s demolished. Bill Nowling, spokesman for emergency manager Kevyn Orr, told the Detroit Free Press that negotiators for the Red Wings insisted on the non-compete clause, saying it was “a condition that they brought to the table.”
The lease is part of a package of agreements to resolve several issues surrounding The Joe, including a plan for the state to pay up-front costs for the demolition and a $5.2-million payment for any unpaid bills due the city under the previous lease.
Olympia Entertainment and the Red Wings are part of Mike Ilitch’s stable of companies.
The City Council has approved the transfer of land just north of downtown and financing for a new hockey arena that could be built as part of a new entertainment district as early as 2016.
Council members have only until the end of this month to make a decision on the lease.
Joe Louis Arena opened in 1979, named for former heavyweight champion Joe Louis, who grew up in Detroit. The Joe replaced Olympia Arena, where the Red Wings had played since 1927.
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