The $650 million development of a Detroit Red Wings arena and entertainment district in Midtown Detroit came a step closer to becoming a reality Wednesday. The board of the Michigan Strategic Fund (MSF) approved a request from Detroit’s Downtown Development Authority (DDA) for the use of special tax increment revenues to fund the development which is being led by Red Wings owner and Little Caesars Pizza founder Mike Illitch’s Olympia Holdings. Plans for the 18000-seat arena and accompanying entertainment district were laid out in greater detail last month at a Downtown Development Authority meeting. The $650 million development would be funded with a mix of $365.5 million in private investment and an estimated public investment of $284.5 million. Detroit Economic Development Corporation President and CEO George Jackson and city officials have been quick to stress that no money would come from the general funds of the financially beleaguered city or county. Instead the $450 million sports and entertainment center and accompanying $200 million residential retail and office district is getting public money through tax increment financing. The MSF’s action on Wednesday also supports an issuance of $450 million in private activity bonds to finance construction. City and state economic development officials continue to insist that the project should not be adversely affected by Detroit's bankruptcy filing. Last Thursday the financially-strapped city filed for federal protection under Chapter 9 of the U.S. Bankruptcy code making it the largest-ever municipality to do so. The district of the proposed development encompasses a 45-block area roughly bordered by Charlotte Street to the north Grand River to the west Grand Circus Park to the south and Woodward Avenue to east. The actual 650000-square-foot arena would be located on Woodward Avenue from Sproat to Henry Street and west to Park Avenue. On Wednesday Gov. Rick Snyder said he expects the project which is expected to add 4380 construction jobs to be a boon for Detroit.
$650 million Red Wings arena project clears another public financing hurdle
Michigan Live | Jul 25