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Detroit delays Red Wings arena vote yet again

Olympia Development

There was a lot of frustrated head-shaking at city hall in Detroit today, as the city council yet again delayed a vote to let construction get going on the $650 million Red Wing arena and entertainment district.

The council had hoped to be able to vote today after last week’s delay, but Councilman Gabe Leland kicked things off by saying the legal department had concerns about the current agreement with the developers.

As it stands, the paperwork only requires Ilitch Holdings' development arm to apply for a permit to preserve the historic Eddystone Hotel – it doesn’t actually require them to go through with the preservation.

And that preservation was a big part of what the city council wanted, in part because some of the hotel’s units may be used for affordable housing.

While some council members wanted to go ahead and vote anyway, and while the developer’s representatives pushed the council to “trust” their promise that they would in fact follow through, this is probably the last time the city will have any leverage over the Ilitch family's development of arena, which will benefit from tens of millions of public dollars.

So it was decided to postpone again, so that the legal department could draw up a clearer agreement with the developers about their plans to renovate the Eddystone.   

Kate Wells is a Peabody Award-winning journalist currently covering public health. She was a 2023 Pulitzer Prize finalist for her abortion coverage.
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