by Chase Lee
The Detroit Red Wings have an approved plan for a new stadium. The long approval process took several years and is finally being put into action. The new stadium will be constructed on several empty lots and vacated buildings beside Woodward Ave near Comerica Park and Ford Field. The arena is projected to be finished 2017, three years from now.
This new neighborhood, named the Sports and Entertainment district, should improve Detroit as a whole, positively impacting the lives of the people around the district and potential buyers for the neighborhood.
“This project is about much more than one facility; it’s about transforming a significant area of underutilized space into a hub of positive activity and pride for residents, downtown workers, guests and visitors,” Ilitch Holdings employee Rachel Blaquiere said. “Bringing this vision of The District Detroit to life means developing new neighborhoods, making public infrastructure improvements and building the events center concurrently.”
Former Red Wing great “Terrible Ted” Lindsay said the new stadium will add excitement to the city of Detroit. Lindsay played from 1944 – 1965 and was a Hall of Famer, 11 time NHL all-star, 4 time Stanley Cup winner, and had his number 7 jersey retired in Joe Louis Arena.
“The new stadium location is a natural that should help out Detroit businesses, restaurants, and fans,” he said. “It is a natural place to be near Ford Field, Comerica Park, and Fox Theater.”
The new stadium will also include a new neighborhood for downtown. This upcoming community includes restaurants, hotels, shops, and residential areas. The new district is expected to cost around $650 million but is projected to make a $1.8 billion dollar positive impact on the city of Detroit.
“It is going to be a tremendous boost for the Eastern Michigan economy and city of Detroit image,” Birmingham resident and long-time Red Wing’s fan, Steve Eick said. “This will be, along with Comerica Park and Ford Field, a top-notch facility.”
The stadium will act as a centerpiece for this grand neighborhood. This new addition will create 8,400 construction-related jobs and 1,100 permanent jobs after completion.
“It will provide a reason to go or move into downtown,” sophomore Luke Wallace said.
Construction on this new section of downtown started on September 25, 2014 and is scheduled to take around 3 years.
“People will have to be willing to work, even in the cold,” freshman Rachel McCardel said.
During on-going construction, the Red Wings will continue to play in Joe Louis Arena near the Cobo Center.
To make transportation easier to the area, the bridges across Woodward and I-75 will be extended to land near the stadium, providing an easy and pleasant trip to the event grounds.
The stadium will seat around 20,000 fans, some of them seated 32-34 feet underground. This below-ground portion is all part of the plan to hide the stadium behind the buildings so that fans will not be able to see the arena upon arrival into the new downtown neighborhood. This is intended to provide an element of surprise for fans from visiting teams or new-comers to the city.
“This development will attract people from all over our city, state and country, and we’re excited to experience this one-of-a-kind District with them,” Blaquiere said.
The goal of the new neighborhood is to be a fun, enjoyable, and safe place for both Detroiters and metro Detroiters looking to have a good time in the city. Although Detroit is known for its violence and high crime rate, this is expected to be a friendly and safe alternative to the current reputation of the city.
This new stadium will add to the excitement already present thanks to the close proximity of the Lions and Tigers. The new arena adds more excitement for fans of the already winning team.
“Fans deserve a good hockey arena since Joe Louis is one of the oldest arenas in the league,” Lindsay said. “The Detroit Red Wings deserve a new arena. This gives a better image of Detroit, when visitor players come into town. The Red Wing players have played out Joe Louis arena, it’s outdated, and this will be a good moral boost to the players.”