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Old Posted Jul 20, 2014, 1:56 PM
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DETROIT | Red Wings arena and entertainment district



Detroit Rink City: Ilitches' grand plan to supersize the entertainment district

A gargantuan 3-year plan: 5 new neighborhoods, a $450 million hockey arena and an accelerated timeline to complete it all

A DRAMATIC TRANSFORMATION OF THE HEART OF DETROIT will begin in September, when the Ilitch family breaks ground on the construction of a $450 million Detroit Red Wings arena concurrently with another $200 million in apartments, restaurants, office buildings, parks and shops over 45 blocks. This is the city’s entertainment district, super-sized.
By Bill Shea. July 20, 2014



Planned is a gargantuan three-year construction project to create five new neighborhoods intended to stitch together the city where it’s divided by the trench-like Fisher Freeway underneath Woodward Avenue.

The 650,000-square-foot hockey and events center and the new neighborhoods — including hundreds of apartments to be built both outside Comerica Park and the new hockey arena — are scheduled to be ready by summer 2017.

A 2013 deal between the Ilitches, through their Olympia Development of Michigan, and the city’s Downtown Development Authority to build the arena at the largely vacant and blighted area of Woodward at I-75 obligated the family to spend at least $200 million in ancillary development within five years of the venue’s opening.

But the Ilitches are accelerating that timeline, and upping the ante.

The Ilitches, the Little Caesars pizza chain founders who have owned the hockey team since 1982, told Crain’s last week that their construction timeline has been radically moved forward so the investment can have a maximum catalytic impact for the city.

“We think the impact on our community will be exponential if it’s all done at once,” said Chris Ilitch, president and CEO of Ilitch Holdings and son of Red Wings owners Mike and Marian Ilitch. “This project takes on a much bigger scale. There is nothing like this going on in our country.”



Ilitch said cost isn’t the first consideration as the planning has evolved for a project with a very large vision for the whole entertainment district.

“This is more than a development; this is our passion,” he said.

Additionally, the Ilitches are now promising to spend “tens of millions” more for infrastructure improvements in the district, mainly around Cass Park west of the arena site to create mixed-use neighborhoods, Ilitch said, but he declined to specify a total.

“This is not part of our agreement with anyone. We’re just doing it,” he said, adding that Olympia has been in talks with the mayor’s office on the necessary approvals.

The additional spending will be used to fix roads, streetlights, landscaping and other aesthetic work within a 45-block area aimed at creating a clean, desirable slate from which to build five neighborhoods with unique identities.

“It frees the city up to spend its resources on other priorities,” Ilitch said.

DTE Energy Co. and other utilities will be asked to make any fixes or upgrades in the area while Olympia has the streets torn up, he said.

“This is an investor’s playground,” Ilitch said.

All together, the area stretches from Charlotte Street, the street north of Temple Street, south to Grand Circus Park, east to the existing stadiums and to a northwestern boundary abutting MotorCity Casino Hotel, owned by Marian Ilitch.

http://www.crainsdetroit.com/article...-entertainment

Last edited by animatedmartian; Jul 20, 2014 at 3:31 PM.
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  #2  
Old Posted Jul 20, 2014, 2:11 PM
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The 5 neighborhoods: Here's the plan



Cass Park Village


This neighborhood is described as eclectic, and primarily residential with restaurants and some retail. Chris Ilitch used the phrase "funky and frontiering" to describe its character. This neighborhood includes the existing Cass Park historic district, is just west of the planned hockey arena area and includes plans for upgrades to Cass Park itself, which is at the center. Also in this area are Cass Tech High School and Masonic Temple.


New Arena Area


This area will be anchored by the new hockey arena, which is planned as a "deconstructed" structure with many of the elements of a sports complex as separate freestanding buildings connected by ground-level and overhead enclosed walkways to the main bowl.

The hockey rink will be below grade to keep the above-ground profile to a few stories tall. A concourse area protected by a glass ceiling will house the concessions. Outside that perimeter, linked buildings will contain office space, including Red Wings offices, apartments and lofts, and year-round retail and restaurant offerings.

Conceptual renderings for the arena depict a highly customizable roof that can be adapted to change color and promote events, such as a music concert, on non-game nights.


Wildcat Corner


This is the working name of the neighborhood anchored by Comerica Park and Ford Field. It's slated for more development to unify the area as a hub for pro sports. The surface parking lots between the ballpark and Woodward Avenue will make way for 300 apartments and/or lofts; a second parking garage may be added next to the current Tigers garage on Montcalm Street, and a new out-building for Comerica Park will be built across Adams Street. The latter could have rooftop bleacher seats, office space and retail and bar/restaurant space on the first floor. It also would also be designed to begin the neighborhood's tie-in to Ford Field a block farther west.


Columbia Street


Between the Fox Theatre and Fillmore Detroit, this is planned as the hub for upscale dining, ornate gas streetlamps, and nightlife -- it's envisioned as a densely developed entertainment destination. New office space with a modern design totaling 120,000 square feet also is planned. What's there now is an existing street that operates as Fox office center parking space, a day care to be relocated, and a service and loading area.


Columbia Park


This is described as a new, contemporarily designed neighborhood including new public park space. The area west of the Fox Theatre area is currently home to scattered bars and restaurants and surface lots; the Ilitch plan seeks to amp that up with a mix of busy streets and quiet green spaces.

http://www.crainsdetroit.com/article...heres-the-plan
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  #3  
Old Posted Jul 20, 2014, 2:45 PM
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Aerial view of what the area looks like today.

Video Link
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Old Posted Jul 20, 2014, 6:30 PM
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well, this seems ambitious
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Old Posted Jul 20, 2014, 7:25 PM
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I'm impressed. The neighborhood proposals are ambitious, but there's certainly the demand for more residential downtown.
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  #6  
Old Posted Jul 20, 2014, 7:57 PM
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Wow! Ambitious is right looks like Gilbert isn't the only Detroit Billionaire who likes to play Sim City, but he certainly has the resources to make it happen. All and all i'm hopeful, especially when heard that the construction schedule has been moved up. Also it looks like from the renderings that the Harbor Light and the Eddystone are going to be saved.
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  #7  
Old Posted Jul 20, 2014, 9:47 PM
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Very impressive! Will be fun to watch this unfold.
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Old Posted Jul 20, 2014, 10:39 PM
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That's a whole master plan, not just a "project". Is it a good thing that they want to build this entire thing that fast? Sometimes, taking a little time ain't bad. Cause this is large, eh.
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Old Posted Jul 21, 2014, 2:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mousquet View Post
That's a whole master plan, not just a "project". Is it a good thing that they want to build this entire thing that fast? Sometimes, taking a little time ain't bad. Cause this is large, eh.
Yea, one guy quoted in one of the articles had wondered if a project of this scale might bring Downtown Detroit to a halt.

While the stadium and a few nearby residential projects are under construction, so too is the M-1 Rail along Woodward as well as whatever other construction projects are likely to happen. At the same time, a lot of the area still needs a fair bit of infrastructure upgrades. So pretty much there's going to be non-stop construction over a large area of the city for at least 3 years. Traffic is going to be a mess!
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Old Posted Jul 21, 2014, 6:12 AM
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^ I was rather thinking about scheduling. Usually, large plans like this are organized into distinct phases, that allows to choose firms and designs gradually (there must be quite several involved in there), and planners to carry out prospective corrections/improvements. It seems to me that it'd be astonishing to see all of this built in 3 years.

It sounds great as it is introduced anyway, huh. You guys are entitled to be excited. Their fabric of "Euro-style" alleys looks appealing and like some cool change from usual wider street.
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  #11  
Old Posted Jul 21, 2014, 6:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mousquet View Post
^ I was rather thinking about scheduling. Usually, large plans like this are organized into distinct phases, that allows to choose firms and designs gradually (there must be quite several involved in there), and planners to carry out prospective corrections/improvements. It seems to me that it'd be astonishing to see all of this built in 3 years.

It sounds great as it is introduced anyway, huh. You guys are entitled to be excited. Their fabric of "Euro-style" alleys looks appealing and like some cool change from usual wider street.
Actually, there's already a list of companies involved with more to be announced by the time construction starts.


Quote:
Barton Malow Co.: The Southfield-based builder had $1.1 billion in 2013 revenue and most recently was in the news as being named the managing partner of a joint venture overseeing a four-year, $150 million renovation of the 91-year-old Rose Bowl stadium in Pasadena, Calif.

White Construction: The Detroit-based firm owned by Bernard White had $31.3 million in 2012 revenue, and was part of the construction management team that built Comerica Park in 2000.

Hunt Construction Group: The Indianapolis-based firm is one of the largest sports stadium and arena builders in the world. It has averaged $1.9 billion in revenue over the past five years.

360 Architecture: The Kansas City-based firm, founded in 2004 after a merger of two other companies, is a major designer of sports facilities, including the new Red Wings arena.

Street-Works: A White Plains, N.Y.-based firm that will lead the urban planning and design for the arena project, it works on mixed-use and commercial development, planning and financing.

Olympia Development of Michigan: The real estate arm of the Ilitch family's business holdings, formed in 1996, is responsible for management the arena project and ancillary development.

Ilitch Holdings Inc.: The Detroit-based management services company for Mike and Marian Ilitch's various business enterprises is headquartered in the Fox Theatre, which was renovated by the family in the 1980s.
http://www.crainsdetroit.com/article...strict-project

The thing about Ilitch compared to the more well-known Dan Gilbert is that Ilitch tends to do everything behind the scenes for a while and then surprise everyone at once. Gilbert is the opposite and everyone tends to know what he's up to as he's doing it.
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Old Posted Jul 21, 2014, 7:19 AM
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I am thoroughly letdown that the old Olympia Stadium design was not chosen and I'm not to fond of another arena being torn down in Detroit.

But with those two things out of the way, holy cow is this a great plan or what. It is nice to see a plan put together with both ambition and thought out at the same time. I'm happy for Detroit. It's been a rough go of things so this is well deserved. Congrats.
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Old Posted Jul 21, 2014, 8:20 AM
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To be clear, this isn't really a question of "if" this time. The project agreement requires Olympia to build $200 million worth of the surrounding neighborhoods within five years of the opening of the arena, and this is apart from the hundreds of millions being spent to build the arena and the immediate development around it.

Ambitious? Yes. The architecture may change for the surrounding developments are different architects are hired for the different projects and neighborhoods, but the layout isn't going to change, significantly.

I think this plan is particularly impressive given that they did this in the face of a mass transit system that doesn't exactly incentize this kind of dense neighborhood development in Detroit. Really, they didn't have to hide the parking, and they could have just thrown up a few towers with some retail in the base and called it a day. Instead, they decided to go for a full-on set of neighborhoods directly radiating from the arena site.

Other observations:

- Glad to see the streetcar stop rendered in at the northeast corner of the site at Sproat and Woodward. They even show the crossover just to the south. Also, looks like they'll be putting a median into Woodward for a few blocks in the area.

- Looks like they are going to extend the Woodward Avenue bridge over the Fisher to the west to support a structure to try and reduce the divide the freeway creates. Seems a bit weird it's just the west side of the bridge, and I'm not sure how a single extension of a bridge over this part of the freeway accomplishes that, but I guess it's better than nothing.

- It appears they changed lead architects for the arena from big names to someone less famous, but it doesn't seem to have hurt the finished product, at all. This is a sexy arena, no doubt, and that's even without a convention exterior. It also looks like after having said they were downsizing the size of the arena to 18,500 seats - presumably to accomodate more luxury boxes - they are backup to 20,000 seats like the Joe.
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Last edited by LMich; Jul 21, 2014 at 8:32 AM.
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Old Posted Jul 21, 2014, 9:00 AM
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You should also notice that Hotel Eddystone and Park Avenue are in the rendering.

Here's a quote from Freep on the two buildings:

Quote:
...

Christopher Ilitch, president and CEO of Ilitch Holdings, said they are considering ways to possibly incorporate the hotels into the arena district. But he stressed that reusing the buildings presents many challenges, as the structures are vertically out-of-scale with the other buildings planned to rise with the development.

And there are fresh plans for a new hotel near the arena. A third-party developer is looking to build one with 130 to 170 rooms that would go north of I-75 at Henry and Woodward.

So far, there have been no final decisions regarding the future of the Eddystone and Park Avenue. The buildings are on national historic registries, which qualifies them for potential redevelopment tax credits but it doesn’t preclude them from demolition.

“Our goal is to use those buildings in this project,” Ilitch said. “If we can’t figure out a way to use them productively, then they become liabilities, and they may go away.”
http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/a...=2014307200121

I don't get why they're so against preserving them. The obvious productive use would be to renovate them for apartments as has been the case for many other historic high-rises in Detroit. What do they have to lose if they just confirm that they're going to renovate them?
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Old Posted Jul 21, 2014, 10:29 PM
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Those buildings are NOT in the rendering in terms of scope. If there is any accuracy to the renderings showing what is proposed, we have no idea at this point if they'll even be incorporated, left vacant or demolished.
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Old Posted Jul 21, 2014, 10:39 PM
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I just have a sneaky suspicion with Chris Ilitch going on the offensive as to why "we had to wait" 15 years to make this happen that the Eddystone and Harbor Light WILL indeed be incorporated.
http://deadlinedetroit.com/articles/...s#.U82XfeNdWyV

Very little, however, has been said/shown regarding the Columbia Park neighborhood area they are proposing... Keep in mind the United Artist, Grand Order of the Moose and Michigan Theatre buildings are all located in/near that zone... I have a sneaky suspicion here that this area will be mainly left as vacant as it is today until the market pushes investors beyond the Ilitch family to participate in big ways as well.

Lastly, for big box development, I'm thrilled the entire district will keep much of the street system as it currently exists in tact.
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Old Posted Jul 21, 2014, 10:42 PM
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^ okay, but Detroit Life building? United Artists? You have to understand my skepticism. And there's no concrete proposal shown for eddystone and HL. They are just grayed out masses. You think there would be further embellishment to even suggest something could potentially be done.
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Old Posted Jul 21, 2014, 11:15 PM
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The Red Wings logo on top of the new stadium is more than a little obnoxious. I sincerely hope that doesn't go forward. And partly because although the new arena would be the home of the Red Wings, they won't be the only event held there or the only team that plays there. It's supposed to be a hockey stadium, not a billboard. The roof should look professional.




The rest of the plan looks pretty good though, they need more shopping and restaurants in that area. None of that can hurt!

Last edited by Onn; Jul 21, 2014 at 11:27 PM.
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Old Posted Jul 22, 2014, 12:13 AM
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That isn't a permanent fixture of the design; the roof will be an interactive feature that can change with each event.
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Old Posted Jul 22, 2014, 12:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Onn View Post
The Red Wings logo on top of the new stadium is more than a little obnoxious. I sincerely hope that doesn't go forward. And partly because although the new arena would be the home of the Red Wings, they won't be the only event held there or the only team that plays there. It's supposed to be a hockey stadium, not a billboard. The roof should look professional.
Wait what?


DSC_0562 by Applejack 25, on Flickr


Aerial View of Oakland Arena by peace-on-earth.org, on Flickr



American Airlines Arena by lucaslechuga2000, on Flickr


FedEx Forum Arena in Memphis, TN by SkylineScenes (Bill Cobb), on Flickr


Toyota Center - Aerial by houtexusa, on Flickr
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