Detroit Red Wings Announce New $650 Million Arena Plan

Ethan GrantAnalyst IJune 19, 2013

DETROIT - MAY 31:   Fans of the Detroit Red Wings pose outside before Game Two of the 2009 Stanley Cup Finals at Joe Louis Arena on May 31, 2009 in Detroit, Michigan.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

The Detroit Red Wings have been using Joe Louis Arena for the last 32 seasons, but as Louis Aguilar of The Detroit News reported on Wednesday, city officials officially mapped out a plan for a new $650 million hockey and entertainment area in Detroit's downtown entertainment and sports district.

The announcement was deemed a "starting point" by city officials and will call for a 56-44 percent split ($367 to $283 million) in private and public funding. 

According to Aguilar, the proposed seating limit is 18,000 and the entire operation would be located close to both of Detroit's other major sports franchise homes. Interstate 75 and Woodward Avenue, near the Detroit Tigers' Comerica Park and the Detroit Lions' Ford Field, is the expected site of the new development. 

Red Wings owner Mike Ilitch, who also owns the Detroit Tigers, has long been advocating a new stadium plan and it looks like he's consolidating some of his resources to bring his two current ownership responsibilities closer together. 

Aguilar has more details:

According to the DEGC, the district includes a $450 million sports and entertainment center and $200 million in new residential, retail and office development in an approximately 45-block area that generally reaches from Grand Circus Park to Charlotte Street between Woodward and Grand River avenues.

Under the concept proposed by Ilitch Holdings, the new hockey arena, or multipurpose events center, would anchor a 35-acre downtown district featuring sports, entertainment, stores and housing near the Ilitch family’s company headquarters in the restored Fox Theatre on Woodward Avenue and nearby Comerica Park.

Ilitch, who also owns pizza franchise Little Caesars, has worked in tandem with the Detroit Economic Growth Committee—which is in itself part of the Downtown Development Authority—to get the ball rolling on this project.

The city is promising new jobs, economic growth and the infusion of roughly $1.8 billion of economic impact into the state of Michigan itself after the project is completed. The promise of no new taxes or funds from Detroit citizens has also been made. 

Joe Louis Arena has a higher capacity for fans (20,058) than the new development is proposing, but it is also the league's fourth-oldest arena.