Chris Ilitch says progress being made on new arena
The Detroit Red Wings will get a new arena.
It’s not if, but when and yet Chris Ilitch doesn’t know or want
to say much about it.
”Everybody is working hard and there’s positive progress,” the
president and CEO of Ilitch Holdings told The Associated Press
after Wednesday’s Detroit Economic Club meeting.
What’s next in the process?
”It’s tough to say,” he said. ”I’d prefer not to make any
predictions and just keep working away and continue to do our due
diligence and see what we can put together.”
Joe Louis Arena, which is among the oldest NHL facilities,
opened in 1979.
Chris Ilitch leads a company owned by his parents – Mike and
Marian – that includes the Red Wings, Detroit Tigers and had $4.2
billion in revenue in 2010.
Four months ago, Michigan lawmakers approved a measure allowing
tax dollars collected by the Downtown Development Authority to be
used for a $650 million multi-use development that will include a
facility for the Red Wings. The DDA has been allowed for nearly two
decades to pay down Detroit’s general obligation bonds with about
$12.8 million a year that otherwise would have gone to
Supporters of the bill claimed it will create upward of 8,300
new construction jobs and pump $1 billion into Michigan’s economy.
Opponents of it said funding a private stadium with taxpayer
dollars shouldn’t be a priority, especially when that money was
otherwise going to the School Aid Fund.
But for Detroit which is under state financial oversight, such a
complex is seen as a godsend.
”I think this is a great opportunity, as we continue the
process of transforming Detroit,” Mayor Dave Bing said Wednesday
in an emailed statement. ”This sports complex will not only create
thousands of jobs, hopefully for Detroiters, but will also be a
major economic benefit to our city.”
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