Detroit Arena Plan In Motion

A plan to build a replacement venue for the aging, 20,000-capacity Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, home to the NHL’s Detroit Red Wings, is moving forward but with caution.

“Everybody is working hard and there’s positive progress,” Chris Ilitch, president and CEO of venue owner Ilitch Holdings, said April 24 during a Detroit Economic Club meeting.

Ilitch told the group he’d rather not “make any predictions” as to what the next steps in the process are aside from staying the course.

Ilitch Holdings also claims MLB’s Detroit Tigers among its assets.

Several months ago Michigan lawmakers approved a measure that would allow tax dollars to be collected by the city’s Downtown Development Authority to be used for the estimated $650 million, multi-use entertainment development that would be anchored by the Red Wings’ new digs.

Opponents of the project disagree with using taxpayer money to fund a privately owned venue, yet supporters say the project would bring in about 8,300 construction jobs and about $1 billion into the economy.

If all goes according to plan, the project could break ground in the fall.