DETROIT - After a groundbreaking in the District Detroit on Thursday, questions arose about the development of 50 blocks surrounding Little Caesars Arena.
A DMC sports medicine institute will be built on Woodward Avenue between Little Caesars Arena and the Wayne State University Mike Ilitch School of Business.
The building is the first new development in the District Detroit since a wave of reports scutinized the timeline of progress in the area.
District Detroit was a huge neighborhood development that was supposed to accompany the arena. People who have been keeping watch on the deal said they don't see progress and actually believe there are fewer small businesses and residential areas than when it all started.
An HBO documentary sparked a lot of backlash, claiming the Ilitch family and Olympia Development haven't made good on redevelopment promises in the district.
"I'm aware of the criticism and the coverage that's been out there, but I'm so focused on everything that we're working on," said Chris Ilitch, CEO and president of Ilitch Holdings. "We think we've assembled a team of professionals that will help us continue to realize our vision and continue our forward progress in District Detroit."
One development isn't enough for people living in nearby neighborhoods, though.
Francis Grunow, who chairs the Neighborhood Advisory Committee, said it's troubling that the plans haven't materialized.
"Things are moving but we're still very much behind the eight ball and where District Detroit is supposed to be," Grunow said.
Vice President of Olympia Development Keith Bradford said the commitment to the city hasn't changed despite a change in the project's timeline, but when asked if original renderings would come to fruition, he didn't directly answer the question.
"We have a ton of plans we'll be announcing in the coming weeks, and we'll look forward to sharing those with you," he said.
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