Red Wings fans have had to wait patiently for the replacement to Joe Louis Arena. Opened in 1979, it's currently the 4th-oldest rink in the NHL and lacks the modern revenue streams teams thrive on. Finally, this week, the Detroit Free-Press reported that Ilitch Holdings CEO Mike Ilitch, owner of both the Tigers and Red Wings, put forth an ambitious plan that would indeed include a new arena for the Wings.
The project is currently slated to cost $650 million, but this figure encompasses the entirety of the project, which would be a multi-block district which may include entertainment options like a theatre, restaurants, etc., plus a shopping mall and residential areas.
Ilitch has set the wheels in motion through Detroit's development authority and Michigan's state government in order to gain access to tax money allocated to development projects. Since the project could potentially be a catalyst to further growth in peripheral areas around the district, there is currently an attempt to pass legislation through the state government to gain access to funds from the Michigan Strategic Fund via Detroit's Downtown Development Authority.
Though no site has been officially chosen, it is believed that the area surrounding the Fox Theater may be a leading contender. Ilitch bought and renovated the landmark theater, which was originally opened in 1928. Many of the companies under the Ilitch Holdings umbrella are headquartered in the buildings adjacent to the Fox Theater building. As well, the Fox site is only a couple blocks from the Tigers' Comerica Park and the home of the Detroit Lions, Ford Field.
Since they're still in the planning stages, not a lot of details have come out about what a new arena for the Wings might look like. All that has been released is Wings ownership wants it to be in the 18,000 seat range. In May, it was announced that Dallas, Texas-based HKS Architects would partner on the project with Chan Kreiger NBBJ with the idea being HKS would focus on the actual arena and NBBJ focusing more on integrating the arena with the proposed development district, similar to what Columbus has done with their Arena District.