Between rumbling of bulldozers and billowing dust clouds coming from the new arena site, it's easy to imagine a small city rising behind that opaque construction fence. And indeed, that's what the initial renderings (and Olympia Development) promised would arrive simultaneously in 2017: the new arena, plus a good chunk of the $200M Las Vegas-like development in the surrounding arena.
The Detroit News is here to burst that bubble by pointing out construction on the arena is full steam ahead, but nothing else seems to have a pulse. There's no timeline for the new Little Ceaesers Pizza Mothership or condos in front of Comerica Park. Rehabbing the Eddystone Hotel hasn't really solidified. None of the vacant Olympia-owned buildings that were promised rehabs have shown progress.
Even though Olympia initially claimed to be accelerating the projects to debut with the arena in 2017, the News says that was a "self-imposed" deadline. The real one isn't so strict:
According to the development agreement between Olympia and the city, the Ilitches have up to five years within the arena's opening to spend at least $200 million in the other development.It should be mentioned that Olympia rarely releases development plans unless required. They could begin working on any number of items tomorrow have plenty to show for it when the arena finishes up.
But the clock is ticking, and there's a chance that when the construction fences come down in a couple years, we may not see a rebuilding Cass Corridor with an arena as the centerpiece. Instead, it may be a scene similar to the Palace or the Silverdome, both standalone stadiums surrounded by acres of emptiness.
UPDATE: To be clear, the Detroit News article says that "work is expected to begin soon" on the Little Caesers Pizza building (pictured above) and a deal concerning the condos near Comerica Park is "apparently close to being finalized." Keep an eye out.
· Revealed: Dazzling Renderings for Detroit's New Arena District [Curbed]
· Little Caesars Plans 8-Story Pizza Mothership Downtown [Curbed]
· New Red Wings Arena Revealed, Massive Development Planned [Curbed]
· Arena moves ahead; nearby projects may lag [Det News]