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Ilitch company proposes $650 million hockey arena, entertainment complex


The Detroit Red Wings could have a new home if Mike Ilitch’s Olympia Development Company gets its way.

Officials from the company spoke to state lawmakers today, outlining a new $650 million complex in Downtown Detroit featuring shopping, apartments, offices and entertainment -- and a new home for the Red Wings.

On Tuesday, a senate committee approved changes to the Detroit Downtown Development Authority to help pay for the $650 million project.

Eric Larson works for a the development arm of the Ilitch organization. He says the development would draw money and jobs to the region.

"Our vision is that of a district in downtown Detroit that accommodates a variety of uses and transforms seamlessly from day to night, weekday to weekend and from season to season," he said.

Larson says the development's highlight would be a world-class events center.

"Detroit draws big events," he said. "These events infuse intangibles such as energy, vitality and civic pride by bringing people together and showing the region in a positive light."

The exact location of the planned development is still unknown, although in a press release, the company says it plans to serve an "underutilized" portion of downtown.

Larson said the development is expected to bring thousands of jobs and millions of dollars in economic development. From the Freep:

"The building of an events center district will create over 5,500 jobs for the events center alone and nearly 8,300 jobs for the first phase of the overall events district," Larson said. He pegged the overall economic impact of the project at $1.8 billion.

While the site has not been selected for the project, the Freep reports there has long been speculation that Ilitch would build a new arena as part of a downtown entertainment district.

- Elaine Ezekiel and Jordan Wyant, Michigan Radio Newsroom

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