See All News

New District will help transform Detroit’s economic future.

Infographic of the District Detroit's economic impact

The District Detroit is an essential piece of Detroit’s colorful, multidimensional future.

It will connect the city to the suburbs and the city’s progressively vibrant arts center to its increasingly robust business center. It is a grand vision — a breathtaking venture that will have a transformative impact on Metro Detroit for decades to come.

One of the most important results of this project will be in the way it alters the economy of the city, the region and the state.

“We are not only talking about jobs, but about attracting new residents and businesses to Detroit that will contribute to a much-needed tax base and revenue stream flowing into the city,” says Mark S. Rosentraub, University of Michigan professor of sports management, economic development and urban revitalization.

The 50-block area that makes up The District Detroit will be home to the new Detroit Red Wings arena and community events center, updated shopping, invigorated neighborhoods, and myriad new restaurant and entertainment options. The premise is to enhance already developed areas and to renovate blighted blocks into a walkable community where people can live, shop and enjoy the finest in sports and entertainment.

“The theme here is connectivity,” Rosentraub says. “These areas become a nucleus of five neighborhoods and green spaces.”

The District Detroit, says Rosentraub, is an essential part of rebuilding Detroit’s population and economy. His recent study on the potential economic impact of the project turned up some promising figures.

He estimates the project will create:

  • 8,300 construction and construction-related jobs
  • 1,100 permanent jobs
  • $100 million in jobs-related income for Detroit residents
  • $210 million a year for the City of Detroit
  • $1.8 billion total impact in the State of Michigan 

Building on a growing base

Reinvestment in Detroit has been increasing in recent years. New grocery stores, retail shops, restaurants and the M-1 RAIL line have brought new life to pockets of the city. There is also more residential development, from the Detroit River past the Detroit Medical Center to Wayne State University and beyond. And already, people are moving back to the city’s core.

“It’s not at the levels we want, but it’s started,” Rosentraub says.

“There’s an extraordinary palette here,” says Rosentraub. “A lot of these five neighborhoods can be built and developed because of these palettes. There are very few cities in the country where you can do this.” 

Why will The District Detroit work?

In the past, some newly built U.S. stadiums had only a minimal impact on local economies because of poor location, high public expense or because they were built in already thriving areas. But, Rosentraub explains, The District Detroit is different.

To begin with, he says, the concurrent development in the city has raised interest in Detroit. Secondly, prime land in the area is cleared and waiting to be developed.

Rosentraub points to successful sport and entertainment developments in Los Angeles, Indianapolis and San Diego as examples of what he foresees in Detroit.

“Look at L.A. Live and the Staples Center,” he says. “Back in the mid-’90s when planning began, people said, ‘This is never going to happen. You guys are absolutely crazy.’

“People lose track of the fact that downtown Los Angeles was probably a more dire setting than Detroit because of all the violence there. People walk around today and say, ‘It was always this way,’ but it wasn’t. They changed the story. Someone had a vision.”

Rosentraub stresses it will take time for new developments to catch on.

“People need to understand that it may take 10 to 20 years for the economic benefits to fully bloom,” he says. “But the vision, plans, thought and commitment to rebuild Detroit is there. This is an extraordinary start.”

Related Stories

People in The District Detroit

District neighborhoods are key to making Detroit vibrant again.

The new state-of-the-art hockey arena at the center of The District Detroit is just one part of the sweeping, long-range vision surrounding the ice arena and community events center the Detroit Red Wings will soon call home. The new 50-block sports and entertainment district will connect downtown Detroit with Midtown to create one contiguous walkable, livable experience.

Read Full Story
Workers in The District Detroit

Thousands of jobs for Detroit residents as The District Detroit becomes reality.

Olympia Development of Michigan’s planned sports and entertainment district, The District Detroit, is a sweeping transformation of neighborhoods between Downtown and Midtown, that will create 8,300 construction and construction-related jobs and 1,100 permanent jobs.

Read Full Story

Explore the District