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Red Wings unveil plans for new arena, look to open in 2017

Jul 20, 2014, 12:10 PM EDT

redwingsarena

The Detroit Red Wings are looking forward to moving out of Joe Louis Arena and into a new downtown arena. Today, they offered up their renderings and plans for what they have in mind and what they’re hoping they can do for downtown Detroit.

As you can see from the image to the right, it’s not just a new arena they have planned but a full downtown makeover. As Red Wings owner Mike Ilitch said in the press release, he wants reinvigorate the city.

“It’s always been my dream to see a vibrant and energized downtown Detroit,” said Ilitch. “I want people to look at Detroit’s new sports and entertainment district and see what I see: the potential for something very special. I couldn’t be more excited and proud to bring this vision to life.”

Ilitch wants to create a downtown sector with the arena as the focus but also to include restaurants, entertainment venues, and residential space as well with a target date  to open the arena by summer 2017. Joe Louis Arena has been open since December 1979.

One of the sticking points for many regarding the new facility is the use of public money to make it happen. The latest plans by Ilitch and his company include tens of millions of his money for public infrastructure including lighting, sidewalk, green space, and streets.

They’re also bringing in at least $200 million in private investment to turn run-down blocks into areas for people to live and work and to build up the area around Comerica Park and Ford Field downtown.

It’s a bold project and with a 2017 target date it means construction will have to begin soon. Their hopes are to break ground this fall.

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