Closer look into the new sports and entertainment disctrict in Detroit

(WXYZ) - Groundbreaking is expected in September for the new home of the Red Wings. It will be the focal point of a large-scale project that the Ilitch family expects to be a game-changer for Detroit.

“It will go from a lot of blighted buildings and some of the worst blight in our city core and overnight it will become this amazing urban, walkable experience,” said Chris Ilitch, the president and CEO of Ilitch Holdings.

The renderings show the vision the Ilitch family has for the $650 million sports and entertainment district. Retail, office and residential offerings will make up five distinct neighborhoods that will fill an area larger than the Central Business District.

“The market is ready for additional residential,” said Ilitch.  "We think it fits into what we’re trying to build, which is a live, work, play district, world class, that rivals anything out there.”

The arena is scheduled for a summer 2017 completion.  Ilitch told 7 Action News the other development work will ramp up as construction progresses on the Red Wings’ new home.

“We have accelerated all of our investment to make sure that everything comes out of the ground together in the summer of 2017,” he said.

Harry’s Detroit Bar is located on Clifford, which is within the planeed district.  Owner Harry Kefalonitis will face competition from new bars and restaurants but he’s excited about what’s to come for the neighborhood.

“You can live here, work downtown and go to sports games, all here,” Kefalonitis said. "I mean you can live your life and walk. That’s the first time we’ve ever been able to say that in Detroit.”

Governor Rick Snyder is an enthusiastic backer of the project. Speaking with reporters after a Detroit Economic Club luncheon, Snyder said it’s a perfect fit.

“Where this project’s going, I think, is really exciting because it would be the connector between Midtown and and downtown,” said Snyder. "You add M-1 with it and we could really create something special through a much larger corridor than what we have today with these two somewhat separate areas.”
 

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