The Michigan House approved a bill Thursday which will allow Mike Ilitch, owner of the Detroit Tigers and Red Wings, to bring a new $650 million development project to downtown Detroit.
Ilitch's proposal includes retail, shopping, housing and a new events center which would serve as a new arena for the Red Wings. The bill gives the Ilitch Organization a leg up on the proposal.
It would allow the Downtown Development Authority to continue to capture money -- about $12 million -- to help pay for infrastructure needs associated with the proposed project.
However, some Detroit Democrats say the bill would rob the school aid fund. They say it needs to be reevaluated. The Senate already has passed the bill.
The bill now will head to Gov. Rick Snyder for his signature.
Christopher Ilitch, president and CEO of Ilitch Holdings, Inc, also released this statement on Thursday:
"The Ilitch organization would like to thank the Michigan State Legislature for passing HB 5463 today. In particular, we would like to thank the bill sponsor, Representative John Walsh (R-Livonia), Speaker of the House Jase Bolger (R-Marshall) and Majority Leader Randy Richardville (R-Monroe) for their efforts in passing this legislation that will have a significant impact on the creation of a catalytic economic development in downtown Detroit that all Michiganders can be proud. We look forward to continuing our work with the public sector to make this public private partnership a reality."
Construction of Joe Louis Arena was completed in 1979. The construction cost $57 million. The city of Detroit owns the arena while Olympia Entertainment operates it.