A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was approved on Wednesday, June 19, 2013 among the Detroit Downtown Development Authority (DDA), Wayne County and Olympia Development of Michigan (ODM) that paves the way for construction of a new arena to house the Detroit Red Wings. The MOU would create a new publicly and privately financed sports and entertainment district in downtown Detroit.
The new $450 million entertainment and sports arena would be an approximately 18,000-seat 650,000 SF facility. The new arena would be constructed near Comerica Park, home of the Detroit Tigers, and Ford Field where the Detroit Lions play. In addition to the arena, the district would include $200 million in new development of a 45-block area reaching from Grand Circus Park to Charlotte Street between Woodward Avenue and Grand River Avenue. Several properties in the district would be redeveloped as well as construction of new parking decks and mixed-use developments to create new retail, office and residential space.
According to the DDA, the development would create 5,500 new jobs for the arena and an additional 8,300 jobs for the residential and commercial developments. The estimated economic impact of the entire project once completed would be approximately $1.8 billion.
Other projects that could be part of the $200 million additional development named in the MOU include:
A 140,000 SF new mixed office and retail development on Woodward at Sproat Street
A 25,000 SF office and retail development along Woodward Avenue
Several parking structures with a total of 25,000 SF of retail
Renovation of the Detroit Life Building at 2210 Park Avenue for 3,645 SF of retail and 35 residential units
Renovation of the Blenheim Building at 81 W. Columbia Street for 1,833 SF of retail and 16 residential units
Renovation of the building at 1922 Cass for 70,000 SF of office space
A new hotel-retail development with a 20,000 SF ground floor
Parking lots and other amenities
A majority of the cost for the district development would be privately funded. Approximately 56 percent of funding would be from private sources with 44 percent coming from public economic development funds. No new taxes would be created for the public funds. Legislation passed last December by Michigan lawmakers allow property tax dollars collected by the DDA to be used for the development with amounts to about $12.8 million a year.
“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 Detroit Economic Growth Corporation, 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.”
Under the public-private partnership the DDA would own the arena and Olympia Development of Michigan which owns the Red Wings would have a long-term contract to manage the property.
No construction timetable has been set as a number of items still have to be approved by the city council, the Detroit Economic Development Corporation and other state and local agencies. Also, no designs for the arena or surrounding district have been release since no design firm has been named. It’s rumored that Dallas-based HKS, Inc. and Seattle-based NBBJ have been hired to design the new arena and district.