Groundbreaking today for DMC sports medicine institute in District Detroit

5-story building going up near Little Caesars Arena

By Nick Monacelli - Reporter

DETROIT - The $65 million building going up starting Thursday will be a DMC sports medicine institute sitting right on Woodward Avenue between Little Caesars Arena and the Wayne State University Mike Ilitch School of Business.

  • A groundbreaking ceremony is planned for 10 a.m. Thursday. 

It's five stories tall, 127,000 square feet, and will have office space, street-level retail and the sports rehab, research and simulation services. No doubt, it will be a nice addition to the District Detroit, but is it enough to appease naysayers?

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. 

Francis Grunow, chair of the Neighborhood Advisory Committee, says the Ilitches' promise of 50 blocks of commercial, retail and residential development has gone unfulfilled.

"Seven hundred units of residential hasn't happened, millions of dollars in parking has," said Grunow. "From day one, they promised to do this stuff in parallel -- to build the arena, but also to work on these other aspects of building the neighborhood. And they have not done that."

Many of those projects are part of what's called "phase 2" of the District Detroit, which includes revitalizing the former Detroit Life Building, or an Albert Kahn-designed building on Cass Avenue. No visible work has been done on those projects yet. 

As for residential redevelopment, there is nothing physical either, although Olympia Development says planning, and financing work continues for renovations for four buildings. 

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