Detroit sports fans approve downtown arena plans

New arena for Red Wings gets fan approval

By Roger Weber - Reporter

DETROIT - The plan to build a new arena in downtown Detroit is getting positive reactions from local sports fans.

The Detroit Downtown Development Authority announced a framework agreement Wednesday for a $650 million project to build a multipurpose event arena and residential, retail and office projects near Comerica Park.

Read: Center, Red Wings arena planned for north end of downtown

The project, which would be built with public and private funds, would be north of Interstate 75 and flanked by Woodward Avenue on the east and Grand River Avenue on the west.

As a Detroit Tigers game was ending Wednesday afternoon, fans were learning of the arena announcement.  Ken Battles, of Grosse Pointe Woods, liked what he heard.

"I think it would be great. Anything that is new and shiny brings new people and Joe Louis Arena is starting to show its age so I'm all for it," Battles said.

Ashley Troyer is a Tigers and Red Wings fan and said a move to a new arena should be good.

"Well I really love Joe Louis Arena so I'll be sad to see that go but it would be keen to have a new arena," Troyer said.

Joe Louis Arena has a hockey capacity of approximately 20,000.  The new arena's seating would be 18,000. 

Hockey fan Rob Soultez is not sure what that will mean for fans.

"I think fewer seats, we'll see what happens with the pricing, but I think it will be a good experience," Soultez said.

All of the financing for the project has yet to be finalized.  More land parcels must be purchased.  Downtown Development Authority leaders on Wednesday expressed confidence that all the pieces can be in place to move forward by the end of the year.

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