Ilitch organization explores massive development of new district in Detroit including events center

DETROIT (WXYZ) - The Ilitch organization has announced that it is exploring the development of a new district in Downtown Detroit that would include residential, retail & office facilities and a multi-purpose events center.

This $650 million dollar plan would be a significant investment in the city's downtown area.

"It's always been my dream to once again see a vibrant downtown Detroit," said Mike Ilitch, chairman, Ilitch Holdings, Inc.  "From the time we bought the Fox Theatre, I could envision a downtown where the streets were bustling and people were energized.  It's been a slow process at times, but we're getting there now and a lot of great people are coming together to make it happen.  It's going to happen and I want to keep us moving toward that vision."       

According to State Representative John Walsh, the new development will begin somewhere behind the Fox Theater and build north toward I-75.

The building of the new district would reportedly create 5,500 jobs for the building of the events center and another 8,300 jobs would be created for the building of residential and commercial facilities.

 "We have a tremendous opportunity through a large-scale project to make a positive impact on our community," said Christopher Ilitch, president and CEO of Ilitch Holdings, Inc.  "A project of this magnitude requires continued due diligence and a strategic partnership with the public sector.  Working together we can ensure this opportunity connects Detroit's existing set of initiatives and assets strengthening the downtown core and enhancing the image of our city, state and region."

The proposal would involve significant private investment that would be supplemented by existing money collected by the Downtown Development Authority.

"This plan makes good business sense for two reasons," said George W. Jackson, Jr., president and CEO of Detroit Economic Growth Corporation.  "First, it's not a plan for an isolated, single-use structure.  Instead, it builds on the clear successes we've already had downtown integrating districts that feature entertainment, and support commercial, retail and residential development around them.  Second, it doesn't impose any new tax burdens; it simply continues a program for retiring debt related to economic development.  It's hard to argue with that."

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing issued the following statement Tuesday after the announcement:

"I am very pleased that the Ilitch organization is exploring another significant development project that would continue the ongoing transformation of Detroit's downtown and Midtown communities. A development of this magnitude, anchored by a world-class, multi-purpose events center, would be a vital contribution to a more vibrant downtown and the strengthening of our city's economy."

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