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Demolition underway on exterior of Joe Louis Arena

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Crews are using cranes painted in Red Wing colors


After more than a year of interior demolition—and souvenir scavenging—crews have begun the process of dismantling the gray exterior panels of downtown’s iconic Joe Louis Arena.

The process started last week and is scheduled to continue for the next two to three months. Workers will then turn their attention to dismantling the building’s roof, supporting columns, and lower seating bowl, reported Detroit News. The site will be completed cleared by early 2020, according to the city.

Home to the Detroit Red Wings for nearly 40 years, “The Joe” hosted countless concerts as well as the 1980 Republican National Convention. The riverfront arena shut its doors in 2017 after the Wings moved across town to Little Caesars Arena.

The Joe Louis property is controlled by New York-based bond insurer Financial Guaranty Insurance Co. which acquired the site as part of the city’s bankruptcy deal. The company plans to keep the existing parking garage intact, but has yet to reveal a redevelopment plan for the soon-to-be-dismantled sports venue. Per the agreement, the city is covering the $10 million demolition bill.

In a bittersweet nod to Red Wing fans, crews even painted some of the wrecking cranes in team colors and the names and numbers of legendary players Steve Yzerman and Gordie Howe. For more pictures of the demolition, check out Deadline Detroit.