Tuesday the Detroit Red Wings announced a new public/private partnership between the Illitch family and the City of Detroit to build a new hockey arena and entertainment district. The new Red Wings Arena will be located on Woodward avenue Northwest of Comerica Park. (on the site of the parking lots on the other side of I-75). The new home of the Detroit Red Wings will be an 18,000 seat venue that would also be hosts to concerts.
The arena is part of a huge entertainment district announced by the Downtown Town Development authority that will include renovation of some of Detroit’s historic structures for office, retail and residential space. The entertainment district will extend from Woodward to Grandriver extending to the Motor City Casino site to Adams ( to the east).
The new arena will help connect mid-town to downtown and revitalize an area of the city that has long been blighted. Supporters of the plan state that the development could pump $1 billion into the local economy and create thousands of jobs.
Another benefit might be an enhancing the franchises profile to potential big name free agents. Detroit has had difficulty attaching big name free agents over the last couple of season. By replacing the 32 year old Joe Louis Arena will the Red Wings become a more attractive free agent destination? Time will tell about the effects on the franchise. One thing is certain, the new development stands to be a revenue boon for a city in dire need of cash flow.