It appears the Illitches are looking to show up Dan Gilbert. For decades, the Illitch family (owners of Little Caesar’s Pizza, Olympia Entertainment, Detroit Tigers and Red Wings) were the talk of the town and praised for their commitment to Detroit. Five years ago, Gilbert moved to Detroit and dedicated his resources to reviving the city. His swift, dramatic and public action outshone the Illitches and left many questioning the accolades given to pizza czars. Turns out they have had big plans of their own.
The plans for a new stadium for the Red Wings has been slightly controversial. Joe Louis is honestly a dump but it’s historic and means a lot to a very dedicated hockey fandom. Consequently, there is a contingent of people who don’t want to see the Wings move. The bigger controversy has been the decision to use millions of dollars in public funds to finance the construction of a stadium that would not formally be returned to the city. The plan’s defenders claim the development spurred by construction would increase the tax base (via new business and residents) and, therefore, benefit Detroit; however, promises of development as a result of a new stadium is old news. The same story was sold when Comerica Park (2000) and Ford Field (2002) were built but the reality is that not much changed.
This time things might be different. Yesterday the Illitches revealed a dramatic and ambitious plan to develop 5 neighborhoods in the Downtown/Midtown area in the next 3 years. Touted as one of the largest construction project in the country, it will undoubtedly change the landscape of Detroit. Between the Illitches development north of Grand Circus Park and Gilbert’s development south of it, my favorite buzz word is even being thrown out – Target!
It’s incredible how much the city has changed in five years and I feel like the city’s core will be completely unrecognizable in another five years. This latest development project is really exciting and hopefully a sign of continued progress for Detroit.
(Source: Crain’s Detroit Business)