Time Ticking For The Joe

Whether the Detroit Red Wings will have a new arena could hinge on what happens in August when it’s time for the Ilitch family to renew their lease on the Joe Louis and Cobo arenas.

The Ilitch family, which owns the Wings as well as Olympia Entertainment, has exclusively leased the arenas from the city for 20 years. The August 16th deadline is expected to set in motion a lot of wheeling and dealing between savvy negotiator Mike Ilitch and the Detroit City Council, according to the Detroit News. The question will be how much the state, city and taxpayers are willing to put up for a new arena, the paper said.

The leases run out in August 2008 but the family needs to notify the city whether it will opt out of the option to extend the lease within two months. Meanwhile, the Ilitch family has bought the land behind their Fox Theatre and Hockeytown Café, fueling speculation the family already has plans to build a new home for the Red Wings, the paper said.