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A Year In Review: The District Detroit 2017

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The Ilitch organization’s bold vision for The District Detroit made tremendous progress in 2017. Perhaps the highlight of the year was the grand opening of the much-anticipated Little Caesars Arena just two-and-a-half years after construction began. Significant milestones where also achieved in plans for new residential housing, office space, retail, public art and more.

Here’s a look at what happened:

January 2017

The Ilitch organization and the College for Creative Studies (CCS) in Midtown announced the Art in The District Detroit partnership. Since the program’s inception, local students from CCS and Cass Technical High School have created public art throughout The District Detroit, including the Comerica Bank-sponsored interactive arch inside Little Caesars Arena, the 3D mural on Alexandrine Street and Cass Avenue, and the decorative fire hydrants along Woodward Avenue.

February 2017

The world said goodbye to a true champion for Detroit, Mike Ilitch. Along with his wife Marian, “Mr. I” was co-founder of Little Caesars and Chairman of Ilitch Holdings. He died February 10 at the age 87.  

April 2017

Work crews at the new Mike Ilitch School of Business at Wayne State University began sequencing and placing the steel that now makes up the building’s frame. WSU and Olympia Development of Michigan ceremonially broke ground on the site less than a year before. The rapidly-progressing business school is set to open in spring 2018. 

May 2017

Olympia Development of Michigan announced plans to offer hundreds of affordable and market-rate rental housing units across six buildings, including two new construction buildings and existing buildings; The Alhambra, The American, The Eddystone and 150 Bagley. And the QLINE street car, formerly known as the M-1 Rail, debuted in The District Detroit, helping link residents and visitors throughout the 50-block development to Midtown and Downtown Detroit.   

July 2017

As the Little Caesars Arena entered the final stages of construction, Olympia Development of Michigan announced that the 5,100-square-foot centerhung scoreboard would become the largest system in the NHL by viewable area upon the arena’s debut. 

August 2017

Right before the arena’s debut, the Ilitch organization announced new eateries that will open in The District Detroit including Mike’s Pizza Bar and Sports & Social Detroit. 

September 2017

After a ribbon-cutting emceed by Detroit’s own Carmen Harlan, the innovative, Michigan-Made, Detroit-Built Little Caesars Arena opened its doors to the public. The Detroit Red Wings helped finish off the exciting month by defeating the Boston Bruins during their first 2017-2018 preseason game, the first-ever NHL game at the arena. 

October 2017

The Detroit Pistons returned to Detroit and ushered in a new era in the city’s sports and entertainment history during its 2017-2018 season opener and victory against the Charlotte Hornets. The celebratory occasion included appearances from Eminem, Big Sean and Dave Bing.

November 2017

Google announced plans to move 100 of its Birmingham employees into an 29,000-square-foot office space above Little Caesars Arena on Henry Street. Just a few days later, 200 Detroit Red Wings, Olympia Entertainment and 313 Presents employees moved into the new four-story mixed-use building at the arena, signifying The District Detroit as a rapidly-growing place for new office, retail, residential and community spaces. 

December 2017

The one-of-kind pizza glass façade at the Little Caesars world headquarters campus expansion construction site debuted to passerby on Woodward Avenue. The 234,000-square-foot building will be the newest corporate headquarters in the city in more than a decade when it opens in summer 2018. Nearly 70 percent of the total contracts awarded for the project so far have gone to Detroit-based businesses, while 99 percent have been awarded to Michigan-based companies. 

About The District Detroit

The District Detroit is one of the largest sports and entertainment developments in the country. Located in the heart of Detroit, this 50-block, mixed-use development led by the Ilitch organization unites eight world-class theaters, five neighborhoods and three professional sports venues in one vibrant, walkable destination for people who want to live, work and play in an exciting urban environment. Home to the Detroit Tigers, Detroit Red Wings, Detroit Pistons and Detroit Lions - The District Detroit represents the greatest density of professional sports teams in one downtown core in the country.

Current data from the University of Michigan demonstrates that The District Detroit will account for an economic impact of more than $2 billion by 2020 and create more than 20,000 construction and construction-related jobs and 3,000 permanent jobs. 

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