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Neighbors of Detroit arena want Ilitch company “to make good” on development promises

Michigan Radio

The Detroit Planning and Economic Development Committee will meet tomorrow to discuss the Cass-Henry Historic District designation. The area is adjacent to the recently built, taxpayer-subsidized Little Caesars Arena.

There has been a growing concern among some that Olympia Development, owned by the Ilitch family, has not been keeping their promises to develop the neighborhood. 

Stateside’s Lester Graham recently spoke with Francis Grunow, the Chair of the Neighborhood Advisory Committee in the Little Caesars Arena district about the ongoing changes made by Olympia Development in Detroit, and how their evolving plans are affecting residents and businesses in the surrounding area.

Olympia Development responded to our request for comment with the following statement:

“Our organization has a long and successful history of historic redevelopment, beginning with the restoration of the Fox Theatre to a national historic landmark, the renovation of the Wagner Baking Company building and more. Since announcing The District Detroit development just four years ago, we have delivered the highly successful Little Caesars Arena complex including new office buildings for the employees of the Detroit Red Wings, Olympia Entertainment and 313 Presents; opened four highly differentiated dining experiences; announced Google's move from Birmingham to Detroit; welcomed the Pistons back home to Detroit and invested millions of dollars in public infrastructure improvements. The Little Caesars world headquarters campus expansion and the new Mike Ilitch School of Business at Wayne State University, which was made possible by a $40 million donation from Mike and Marian Ilitch, will both open later this year, bringing more than 340,000 new square feet of office, retail and educational space to our community. Last week we confirmed development of a new, mixed-use office building on Woodward, which will hold DMC's one-of-a-kind Sports Medicine Institute; and we recently contracted architects for redevelopment planning on three historic buildings: the Detroit Life Building, the former Women's City Club and the Albert-Kahn-designed 1922 Cass. We are proud of the rapid pace and significant span of our work so far, and there is much more to come.”

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