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After many delays, Detroit council approves new Red Wing arena plans

After weeks of delays, Detroit's city council has finally voted to let major construction start on the new Red Wings arena.

The city's been going back and forth on the details of this $450 million arena for months with Olympia Development – which is owned by the Ilitch family, who also own the Red Wings and Little Caesar’s.

Millions of public dollars will be spent on the project, and the council knows this is the last time they'll have any leverage.

So they made sure that there were promises of affordable housing in the surrounding entertainment and residential district, as well as locking down language that says Olympia will save and restore the Eddystone, a historic hotel in the area.

Preservationists lobbied the council to get Olympia to save another historic but blighted hotel, the Park Avenue, but the council declined.

They knew they were up against a ticking clock.

Dozens of contractors, carpenters and other workers attended council meetings to speak in favor of approving the rezoning, in hopes of getting construction jobs sooner rather than later.

And representatives from Olympia Development stressed the need to take advantage of this summer's construction season, in order to meet their scheduled opening for the Red Wings 2017 season.


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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