Feb. 9, 2012; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Red Wings owner Mike Ilitch talks about hosting the NHL 2013 Winter Classic against the Toronto Maple Leafs during press conference at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

A New Home For The Detroit Red Wings?

Red Wings fans have been clambering for a new arena in Detroit that would highlight the excellence on the ice with excellence off the ice. Mike Ilitch and Ilitch Holding have just taken another step towards making the new arena a possibility sooner rather than later. A new arena has been in the works behind the scenes for years with rumours swirling every so often. In May The Ilitch organization allegedly hired HKS Inc. to design the arena, but neither HKS or Ilitch Holdings confirmed it. This is the first time Ilitch Holdings has officially made a statement about a new arena.

Ilitch Holdings made this statement today,

The Ilitch organization today announced it is taking a step forward with the public sector to explore the viability of a partnership to support the development of an innovative district in Detroit’s downtown core comprised of residential, retail and office facilities, anchored by a new state-of-the-art, multi-purpose events center.

There is still a long process to go through until a new arena is built, but this is a large step in the right direction for the Red Wings, Ilitch, and the fans. Ilitch Holdings does not only want to create a sole standing arena, but a thriving district around it.

CBS Detroit talks about why creating the district is a better idea than a stand alone arena.

“This plan makes good business sense for two reasons,” said George W. Jackson, Jr., president and CEO of Detroit Economic Growth Corporation.  “First, it’s not a plan for an isolated, single-use structure.  Instead, it builds on the clear successes we’ve already had downtown integrating districts that feature entertainment, and support commercial, retail and residential development around them.  Second, it doesn’t impose any new tax burdens; it simply continues a program for retiring debt related to economic development.  It’s hard to argue with that.”

The building of the new district is anticipated to create approximately 5,500 jobs for the events center alone and approximately 8,300 jobs for the entire residential and commercial mixed-use district. Michigan can anticipate an estimated economic impact of $1.8 billion from the completion of this district.

Ilitch cares about Detroit as much as he cares about The Detroit Red Wings and The Detroit Tigers. By bringing new jobs into Detroit and creating a new district; he creates a better experience for fans and helps the city and people of Detroit as well.

Does this spell out the end of The Joe? Yes and no, there is still a long way to go and it will certainly take several more years before the new arena is ready to break ground.  The age of The Joe is catching up with it and it lacks the amenities of newer arenas, but The Joe will always have a special place in the heart Red Wings fans.

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