DETROIT – After the big splash announcing a new Red Wings arena and a stadium district around it, there has been no activity at the site.
Part of the issue revolves around zoning requests, specifically what to do with two Detroit buildings on the National Register of Historic Places: The Hotel Park Avenue and Eddystone Hotel.
In the early 1900s, the hotels were places to see and be seen. Those days have been over for a very long time, and the buildings sit on the edge of the proposed stadium district.
Preservationists have been petitioning City Council not to allow the Ilitch organization to raze the buildings. The Ilitch development team behind the new arena district has been noncommittal, and zoning requests are at a standstill.
A compromise may now be within reach.
"We have found a way to finance the two of them, if we can get the Ilitch group to sell them to a private developer that would develop them into the housing we're talking about," said City Council President Pro Tempore George Cushingberry.
The administration and the council have found federal monies that could be used to rehab the hotels. The idea would be to make them into moderately priced rentals for seniors, veterans and others.
There are no commitments yet, but talks are ongoing. Cushingberry is optimistic.
"I think we may have the ingredients now," he said. "I know the mayor has been having meetings, some of us have been having meetings with our Ilitch family and we want to do it, and we want it to work, and we're going to make sure it does."