DETROIT (WXYZ) - By a 6-3 vote, Detroit City Council approved a land transfer agreement that paves the way for the development of a $650 million entertainment district in Detroit.
The project will include a new hockey arena for the Red Wings, with a price of $450 million.
"This will be the epicenter of sports and entertainment in Michigan and it's a difference maker," Tom Wilson, president and CEO of Olympia Entertainment, Inc. told council members. "We have a once in a generation opportunity here to make downtown Detroit a magnet for jobs and people and businesses to be around us," he said.
"It fills a real development gap that we had between downtown, Midtown, the connectivity of all the stadia, the connection with that and an entertainment district," said George Jackson, president and CEO of the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation.
Olympia officials say the project will generate 8,300 construction jobs; 5,500 alone to build the new events center. They promise to hire Detroit residents for at least 51 percent of the jobs tied to the project.
Council members Brenda Jones, James Tate and Raquel Castaneda-Lopez voted no on both resolutions.
Tate cast his dissenting vote because he wanted more certainty of jobs for Detroit residents once the construction of the events center is complete.
"It will certainly make a huge impact for the city of Detroit," Tate said. "My only concern, once again, is the people. How do we make sure that we get everything that we can out of every project, not just this one, but every project, for the residents of this city."
Olympia Development, which is part of Ilitch Holdings, expects to name an architect for the arena and general contractors for the project within the next several months.
It is hoped the new arena would be completed for the 2016-17 hockey season.