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After Years Of Stalling, Ilitch Organization Sets Arena In Motion

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The Ilitch organization finally got the ball rolling on a new arena for the Detroit Red Wings, a hotly anticipated project that's been shrouded in mystery for as long as anyone can remember. Today's announcement that the Ilitch organization would be seeking a public partnership was basically a formality — there wasn't much in the ways of new information about project specifics. The anticipated cost ($650 M) was solidified, as well as the fact that the project will be mixed-use (residential, commercial, arena). What a snoozer, Mr. Ilitch! Give us something new, anything, please?

What we can (and will) speculate about is LOCATION LOCATION LOCATION. What are the two most likely sites?

1) Many think the hotspot is "Lower Midtown," or the mostly-empty region bordered by Temple, Woodward, Cass, and I-75. The Free Press tells us that 22 properties in the area have exchanged hands since 2008, but none of the buyers have yet been connected to Ilitch. If that rumor pans out, a new arena would be the catalyst in bridging the gap separating Midtown from Downtown.

2) Another likely locale is farther south and west, in the vast parking lot desert surrounding Cass and Elizabeth. The way Mr. Ilitch keeps hammering the word "downtown," you might think that he means this spot, which is decidedly more
downtown and could share parking with Comerica Park. BUT, a press release today from Mayor Bing's office mentions Downtown AND Midtown.

What are your bets, readers? Regardless, one thing that's been largely overlooked is the fate of city-owned Joe Louis Arena. What will Detroit do with a gigantic, obsolete arena once the Wings are gone?
· Ilitch seeks downtown Detroit arena district [Freep]
· Red Wings Pick Architects for New Arena To Replace Joe Louis [Curbed Detroit]