Detroit’s Great Hope

 in Detroit is acting as a symbol of hope for a city that has struggled, with the facility anchoring a $1.2 billion, 55-block development called The District Detroit that Chris Ilitch says will make the Motor City vibrant once again.  

Little Caesars Arena
Rob Kohn / Olympia Development of Michigan via AP
– Little Caesars Arena
In an undated photo provided by Olympia Development of Michigan, Little Caesars Arena, foreground, is seen in Detroit with Ford Field and Comerica Park in the background.

The venue, which already has a full slate of concerts on the books and kicks off Sept. 12 with six nights of Kid Rock, has a ribbon-cutting ceremony planned for Sept. 5 and the public is invited to a tour Sept. 9.

“This type of project comes once in a lifetime,” said Chris Ilitch, president and CEO of Ilitch Holdings. The family business started Little Caesars Pizza nearly six decades ago and bought hockey’s Detroit Red Wings and baseball’s Tigers as well as Motor City Casino and Fox Theatre. “If we do this right and do it well, it has an opportunity to materially impact the trajectory of the community for decades,” Ilitch added.

The project has put more than 12,500 people to work and already contributed $1.5 billion in economic impact to the city, according to an Associated Press story.

According to District Detroit’s website, more than 300 people will be hired for Little Caesars Arena food service alone. Olympia Entertainment, which is headquartered at the Fox Theatre, operates Little Caesars Arena and is a division of Ilitch Holdings.

Booking contacts for Little Caesars Arena are Olympia’s Dana Warg, Cara Saam and Sarah Zawalski. GM is Tim Padgett. Other concerts already on the books include Ed Sheeran, Imagine Dragons, Lorde, Janet Jackson, Katy Perry, Fall Out Boy, Shania Twain, and Harry Styles.

The Detroit Pistons’ old home,

It all bodes well for a city that has faced declining population for decades and in 2013 filed for bankruptcy.

“People have asked, ‘Are you excited to be done soon?” Ilitch said. “And I always say, ‘We’re just getting started.’”