Venue News Roundup

A replacement for Joe Louis Arena in Detroit could break ground as early as this fall, plus upgrades in Rockford, Ill., and a viable arena plan in Mississippi but no money to build it.

A sports economist tells Crain’s Detroit Business that construction could begin this fall on a new downtown Detroit arena.

Mark Rosentraub has worked with the Ilitch family, which owns the Detroit Red Wings hockey team, to create economic impact, jobs and tax estimates and models for the $650 million project. 

The Red Wings will likely play at the aging Joe Louis Arena at least two or three more seasons, assuming the proposed entertainment district anchored by the arena even gets off the ground and passes the various hurdles involved, including location, financing and ownership.

Rockford, Ill., has scored a $4 million grant from the state to help fund renovations and repairs at the city’s BMO Harris Bank CenterCoronado Performing Arts Center and Davis Festival Park.

Initial upgrades to the arena will reportedly include a replacement of a bleacher system and a chiller system that supports the building’s ice pad.

New reception rooms will be established at the Coronado and Davis Park will get permanent lighting, staging and sound systems to help attract new events, “But we can only do that when we understand that a permanent music and festival park is what the city wants us to do down there,” venues authority chair Mike Dunn told the Rockford Register Star.  “We’re anticipating that’s going to be the case.” The authority previously spent up to $100,000 per year renting equipment for events at the park, the paper noted.


A long-awaited study finds that Jackson, Miss., could support a downtown arena, but the city is no closer to having the money to build such a facility.

The study recommends Jackson build a $115 million, 9,000-seat arena and estimates a $19.7 million economic impact per year. 

Downtown Jackson Partners’ President Ben Allen says the city’s business community supports the plan but it will require enthusiastic support from city officials.

That might be a tough sell for a city that has been unable to successfully raise sales taxes for needed infrastructure improvements.