DETROIT, MI – It started out as hushed whispers. Then the talk became more frequent and louder that a new Detroit Red Wings arena would be built to replace the Joe Louis Arena. Now we know when construction will begin.
Barring any complications that are not known at this time, construction of the new Detroit Red Wings Arena and entertainment district will start on Thursday, September 25th, 2014.
Slated to be completed in 2017, it is the project that will transform downtown Detroit in ways that had only been dreamed about for years. Vacant and blighted properties will be gone. Gleaming new structures will all rise out of the ground all at the same time during construction.
Detroit’s Downtown Development Authority formally approved the financial plan for the project but with restrictions banning erotic dance clubs, gun shops, manufacturing and warehouse facilities, drug paraphernalia shops, and waste disposal sites. No church’s will be allowed either because of the government dollars going into the project.
The new hockey arena will be 785,000 square feet for the Detroit Red Wings and a surrounding, 45-block entertainment district is being prepared to rise up in downtown Detroit. It appears from the online PDF that the new Red Wings arena will be named Nationwide Arena.
The new district will not be a renovated building built here or a new building built there. This is all new construction that will bring over 8,000 construction jobs to a 45 block area and create $1.8 billion in economic impact to Detroit.
The scope and size of the project is nothing short of breathtaking. Imagine, if you will, the size of Georgetown, Washington, DC, the Back Bay, Boston or Greenwich Village, New York. Any one of those areas are the same size or slightly smaller than what is going to be built in Detroit.
Over $650 million will be spent to bring this project alive. Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and his administration will be working closely with the Ilitch family and Olympia Development of Michigan to make sure the sprawling new district will be developed in a way to benefit the city, its residents and also includes holding the Ilitches to pledges of buying Michigan-made materials and hiring qualified Detroit residents for the project .
The development calls for a more-than-20,000-seat arena, new residential buildings and dozens of restaurants and retail, as well as a hotel, new parks and streetlights and other new or remade infrastructure.
Once the new Red Wings arena is built and they have moved into the new complex, Joe Louis Arena is slated to be torn down.
It is exciting and is exactly what Detroit needs for a massive turn around from years of decline, decay and its infamous bankruptcy.