NHL Rumors: Detroit Red Wings Owner Exploring Plans For New Arena

By Jonathan Katje
Mike Ilitch
Mike Ilitch (Rick Osentoski – USA TODAY Sports)

Olympia Development, owned by Ilitch Holdings (which manages the companies owned by Detroit Tigers and Detroit Red Wings owner Mike Ilitch) announced today in a press release that they are “exploring development of new residential, retail, office and events center district in downtown Detroit.” The centerpiece of the proposed site, for which a location has not yet been announced, would be a new arena home for the Red Wings.

Legislation began moving through the Michigan Senate today (House Bill 5463) which would allow the Downtown Development Authority to use existing tax funds for the project. In addition, a “significant” private investment from the Ilitches would also fund the project.

In addition to the Red Wings and Tigers, Ilitch also owns Little Caesars Pizza, the MotorCity Casino and Hotel and the Fox Theatre. His estimated net worth is over two billion dollars.

The Red Wings have been playing at the iconic Joe Louis Arena since 1979. There has been no formal announcement concerning what would become of “the Joe,” currently the fourth oldest NHL arena, under the plans for a new arena. Despite there being no formally named site as of yet, the Ilitch family owns a great deal of land in and around downtown Detroit, and could place the arena near one of their current properties, the Fox Theatre or MotorCity Casino.

According to the press release, “the exact location of the district has not been determined, it will be strategically located to serve some of the most underutilized areas in Detroit’s  downtown  core, strengthening the link between Detroit’s existing assets through a continuous, walkable environment connecting one district to the next and serving to improve the quality of life for residents and visitors alike.”

With the announcement of this plan and the current NHL lockout, Red Wings fans’ remaining time to enjoy a game at Joe Louis Arena could be very limited.

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