Ilitch's downtown Detroit plan could be long process

Ilitch Organization explores development of new residential, retail, office, events center district in downtown Detroit

DETROIT - There is no clear answer to where the Ilitch Organization's proposed downtown Detroit development would go.

Maybe it will be constructed near the Masonic Temple. Maybe it will be closer to Comerica Park.

"It's always been my dream to once again see a vibrant downtown Detroit," said Mike Ilitch, chairman, Ilitch Holdings, Inc., in a statement Tuesday. "From the time we bought the Fox Theatre, I could envision a downtown where the streets were bustling and people were energized.  It's been a slow process at times, but we're getting there now and a lot of great people are coming together to make it happen.  It's going to happen and I want to keep us moving toward that vision."

Read more: Ilitch announces development plan for downtown Detroit

However, Ilitch's announcement does not mean anyone is ready to break ground. It's expected to be a long process.

Detroit City Council President says funding plan alone will take time

"Just the conversation alone on the funding piece -- the private dollars and the public dollars that will go into this -- is going to figure out, to assemble and get approval for before we even think about breaking ground," said Detroit City Council President Charles Pugh.

The plan would include investment from the Ilitch Organization and public money, but no burden on the city's already-depleted general fund.

"Although these dollars are very important they are not coming out of our general fund," said Pugh. "We won't be laying off people to build this arena. There are different pots of money used for different things."

According to the plan, the new district would create 5,500 jobs for the events center, 8,300 jobs for the entire district and an estimated economic impact of $1.8 billion dollars. It's a lot of positive numbers for Detroit and beyond.

"This is a major project that the state needs, not just the city of Detroit, the state needs this huge development project," Pugh said.

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing expressed his excitement about the proposal in a statement:

"I am very pleased that the Ilitch organization is exploring another significant development project that would continue the ongoing transformation of Detroit's downtown and Midtown communities," Bing said. "A development of this magnitude, anchored by a world-class, multi-purpose events center, would be a vital contribution to a more vibrant downtown and the strengthening of our city's economy."

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