New Red Wings Arena Plans Revealed, But Funding Is Controversial

Monday, 21 Jul 2014 05:12 PM

By Morgan Chilson

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The Detroit Red Wings will have a new stadium by 2017 in a mixed-used project expected to generate $1.8 billion in economic impact for the struggling Michigan city’s economy.

Olympia Development of Michigan, a Detroit real estate company owned by Michael Ilitch, who also owns the Red Wings, announced plans to renovate dozens of blocks in the city to create a “world-class sports and entertainment district” at the same time the arena is being built, a company release said.

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At the center of the new district would be the Red Wings’ new stadium, CBS Sports said, but funding for the project has been controversial.

Ilitch plans to put more than $200 million of his company’s money into the pot, but plans to invest taxpayer dollars have met with concern, CBS said. The Michigan Strategic Fund board last year approved up to $450 million in state-issued bonds for the project; no money will be taken from the state’s general fund.

In a press release on the project, Ilitch’s company said the project will create 8,300 construction jobs and 1,100 permanent jobs in Detroit.

“The expanded vision for this important project will immediately begin building on the success of other investments along Woodward Avenue,” said Gov. Rick Snyder in the release. “This is a powerful example of how public-private partnerships have multiplier effects that benefit the city, the region and the state.”

“It’s always been my dream to see a vibrant and energized downtown Detroit,” Ilitch said in the release. “I want people to look at Detroit’s new sports and entertainment district and see what I see: the potential for something very special.”

“Our vision for the new arena is for a one-of-a-kind facility that fits in with its neighborhood, that is authentic to our Detroit roots and offers an unmatched fan experience,” said Ilitch Holdings President and CEO Christopher Ilitch in the release. “We will build a revolutionary venue for hockey, music, entertainment and community events, and at the same time, a vibrant mixed-use neighborhood surrounding it.”

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