The Detroit Red Wings moved one step closer to finding a replacement for Joe Louis Arena on Wednesday when the city development authority voted to approve a memorandum of understanding to build a new multipurpose arena in the downtown section of the city.
If fully approved, the arena would cost $650 million, seat about 18,000 for hockey, and be located near Comerica Park, home of the Detroit Tigers, and Ford Field, home of the Detroit Lions. According to a report in the Detroit Free Press, the city's Downtown Development Authority would own the arena, and Olympia Development, owned by Red Wings owners Mike and Marian Ilitch, would operate and maintain the building.
It will be built with a mix of private and public funds.
"Today, this public-private partnership took a significant step forward in laying the groundwork for a major catalyst development which will create approximately 8,300 jobs, stimulate economic activity, and have a positive and lasting impact on our community," Christopher Ilitch, president and CEO of Ilitch Holdings Inc., told the newspaper.
The arena would be part of development that would include areas for housing, retail, office and parking.
According to the Free Press, the deal is tentative, but George Jackson, president and CEO of the Detroit Economic Growth Corp., which negotiated the deal on behalf of the city, said the hope was to have a final agreement signed by the end of 2013.
"Today's agreement represents one step among many that all the partners have to take together, but it is a very significant step," Jackson told the newspaper.
Construction of the arena is expected to take about two years after a formal agreement is signed.