Progress in The District Detroit The District Detroit Brings Massive Economic and Community Impact

In the four years since ambitious plans for The District Detroit were first announced and one year since the opening of the award-winning Little Caesars Arena, we remain just as committed, if not more, to the city of Detroit and our investment representing over $1.4 billion in Michigan-Made, Detroit-Built development. We’ve accomplished a lot, and there is much more to come. The tax base in the Detroit Downtown Development Authority’s Catalyst Development district has increased an estimated 456 percent since the year prior to our initial announcement. Research also indicates the development will account for an economic impact of more than $2 billion by 2020 to the city, region and state. And since we first announced our vision, we have tracked more than 200 outside development projects that are estimated to bring the city $2.8 billion in additional economic impact. Below we update many projects and community involvement initiatives, with an ambitious eye on the future.

Award-winning Little Caesars Arena attracts 3 million guests in first year

Home to the Detroit Red Wings, Detroit Pistons, concerts and entertainment, Little Caesars Arena opened in September 2017. And after one year of operation, the arena has attracted nearly 3 million guests and is expected to be among the busiest arenas in the world. Little Caesars Arena was honored with more than 16 industry awards, including the coveted SportsBusiness Journal’s Sports Facility of the Year, and brought a wide variety of new shows and events to Detroit.

Pistons return to Detroit after nearly 30 years in suburbs

A historic agreement made in 2016 brought the Detroit Pistons back to the city from the suburbs, making Detroit the only city in the nation with four major sports teams in its downtown core. The move includes construction of a new practice facility and corporate headquarters in New Center.

Little Caesars Arena brings exciting new shows, concerts and events to downtown Detroit

Along with the addition of the Detroit Red Wings and Detroit Pistons to The District Detroit, the state-of-the-art Little Caesars Arena has attracted many new top-selling artists including Harry Styles, Jack White, Lady Gaga, Janet Jackson and Drake. The arena sold out the first 10 consecutive concerts it hosted with acts including Kid Rock, Ed Sheeran, Paul McCartney and Imagine Dragons. Little Caesars Arena hosted WWE SmackDown Live, first and second round March Madness tournament basketball games for NCAA Division I Men's Basketball, Cirque du Soleil Crystal, the BIG3 basketball league, the Great Lakes Invitational and Disney on Ice events. All these events add to The District Detroit’s incredibly dynamic reputation for world-class sports and entertainment options and many more exciting shows are on the way. 

Chevrolet Plaza at Little Caesars Arena

Home to Little Caesar Arena’s ribbon-cutting ceremony near Henry Street, the 3,000-person Chevrolet Plaza includes a massive video screen built for concerts, movie nights and gatherings before and after events. Since its debut, the outdoor venue has hosted a summer yoga session, NHL pre-game parties, live DJ sessions, Detroit Tigers Opening Day festivities and special holidays events, like the Costumes and Cocktails party for Halloween. The plaza also hosted the inaugural Winter Beer Carnival, which included food trucks, oversized interactive games for attendees and local radio station, ATL 106.7 FM. The plaza is named after the official vehicle for the arena and the Detroit Red Wings’ primary automotive sponsor, Chevrolet. 

Retail & Dining at Little Caesars Arena

In addition to Chevrolet Plaza, Little Caesars Arena features four exciting new dining establishments: Mike’s Pizza Bar, Sports & Social Detroit, Kid Rock’s Made in Detroit and District Market. Inspired by New York City food halls, District Market sells Michigan-made snacks and drinks and brings together six concessions in one venue: GREENS, HANDMADE, GRILL, SUGAR & BREW, ON ICE and MEX & CO. The arena also features the Team Store, open daily to provide premier official merchandise for Detroit Red Wings and Detroit Pistons fans. The arena features many other incredible amenities using revolutionary design and engineering principles, such as the indoor streetscape-style Via Concourse, which boasts a unique 600-feet-long textured aluminum “jewel-skin” that can display video and graphics. The arena is also home to underground clubs, the world’s largest Skydeck Wire Tension Grid and the BELFOR Training Center, a practice facility for Red Wings and amateur hockey groups.

Thousands of students join The District Detroit at new Mike Ilitch School of Business at Wayne State University

The new business school, which opened in August 2018, brings more than 4,200 college students closer to Little Caesars Arena, adding density and vibrancy to the area. Made possible by a $40 million gift from Mike and Marian Ilitch, the gift is the largest in Wayne State University’s history and highlights the Ilitch’s lifelong dedication to promoting entrepreneurship, education and the revitalization of Detroit. Since the gift was announced in October 2015, graduate MBA enrollment has increased by 66 percent, and total school enrollment has increased by 33 percent and elevated the business school to the second largest at the university.

Little Caesars world headquarters campus expansion under construction to meet company’s massive growth

Well underway, Little Caesars’ new $150 million world headquarters supports the company's incredible domestic and global growth and brings one of the first newly-constructed, multi-story corporate headquarter buildings to downtown Detroit in a decade. The new building will hold 700 employees and be open in early 2019, just in time for the iconic company’s 60th anniversary.

Columbia Street shopping and dining destination to attract sports fans and concert-goers

The upcoming launch of the Columbia Street destination adjacent to the historic Fox Theatre will bring 10 new retail storefronts to a newly-created, cobblestone festival street. Cuban-inspired Frita Batidos; Middle Eastern Sahara Restaurant & Grill and University of Michigan apparel retailer, The M Den, have already been announced, and more exciting announcements are on the way. The block-long, 40,000-square-foot shopping and dining destination is designed to attract sports fans and concert-goers before and after events.

Historic Redevelopment adds to diverse mix of new and existing buildings, for office, retail and residential

Detailed restoration work is underway at several historic buildings in The District Detroit, including the Eddystone; 150 Bagley St., the former United Artists Building; the former Detroit Life Building; Women’s City Club and 1922 Cass Ave. The developments represent an office, retail and residential investment totaling more than $167 million.

Detroit-based Bagley Development Group continues pre-construction planning for 150 Bagley St., which is expected to bring nearly 150 new market-rate and affordable residential units.

New daytime population on Woodward Avenue adds density to area near Little Caesars Arena 

Hundreds of new employees are now working in The District Detroit in buildings adjacent to Little Caesars Arena, including the Detroit-based offices of Google, along with Olympia Entertainment, 313 Presents and the Detroit Red Wings.

More new development underway delivers additional retail and office tenants

Even more professional employees are on the way as three other new mixed-use buildings are anticipated near Little Caesars Arena. New buildings at 111 Henry St. and 120 Henry St. are envisioned as Class A office space with street-level retail. And a new medical/office building is planned for 2715 Woodward Ave. between Little Caesars Arena and the new Mike Ilitch School of Business.

World-Class businesses select The District Detroit at the center of the action

Google’s Detroit office joined The District Detroit in August in a 30,000-square-foot office space at Little Caesars Arena. In 2019, even more new office tenants will be announced—such as the partnership with Detroit Medical Center and Warner Norcross + Judd LLP to occupy a new medical/office/retail building at 2715 Woodward Ave.  

Infrastructure enhancements add to walkable streetscapes on Woodward Avenue and others

More than $18 million have been invested in the construction of blocks and blocks of new landscaped medians on Woodward Avenue, which are not only decorative but also enhance pedestrian safety. The investment includes several road resurfacing projects, expressway ingress/egress improvements, more than 100 new decorative streetlights, water and sewer upgrades and the planting of more than 350 trees along area streets.

Research shows The District Detroit projects will continue to make a long-term impact

Development in The District Detroit is already making an incredible impact on the local economy, specifically in job creation. Throughout construction of Little Caesars Arena and other nearby developments, the actual number of jobs created has far outpaced earlier projections for new construction and construction-related jobs. The expected 8,300 new construction and construction-related jobs rose to 20,000 jobs over the course of the last four years.

Early projections for the number of permanent jobs at Little Caesars Arena were for 1,100, which, upon opening, grew to more than 3,000 permanent jobs. Nearly two-thirds of those hired to work at Little Caesars Arena are Detroit residents. Further, research indicates that development of The District Detroit will account for an economic impact of more than $2 billion by 2020 to the city, region and state.

Development around Little Caesars Arena making significant economic impact

To date, the Ilitch organization has invested in The District Detroit which represents $1.4 billion in new in office, retail and other commercial developments in The District Detroit. Since that time, more than 200 other projects, including hotels, residential projects and office space within a 10-minute walk of Little Caesars Arena, have added another $2.8 billion in outside investment to downtown Detroit.

Even more economic effect felt throughout the City of Detroit

The city’s property tax base from the DDA’s Catalyst Development district has climbed 456 percent since 2013. During construction of Little Caesars Arena, the city’s unemployment rate dipped to its lowest levels in 16 years.

Olympia Development’s $200 million additional investment goal met ahead of schedule

Olympia Development of Michigan’s commitment to invest an additional $200 million in ancillary development around Little Caesars Arena is on pace to be achieved up to five years early, pending final approval of the DDA, which is anticipated next year. Additionally, $200 million in private bonds used to finance Little Caesars Arena and surrounding development have already been paid off and refinanced at lower rates nearly 30 years early.

The Ilitch organization continues to be a partner in the community

The Ilitch organization has supported many community organizations in Detroit, including the Michigan Veteran Foundation, a $6 million sponsorship for two QLINE stations and townhall discussions for the National Association of Black Journalists’ annual convention. It has also supported a record-breaking breast cancer fundraising campaign, held one of the largest American Red Cross blood drives in Michigan and participated in many other partnerships in Detroit.

Dedication to Detroit workforce through apprenticeship opportunities

Olympia Development of Michigan has welcomed nearly 1,000 apprentices and pre-apprentices to construction sites, all trained in new skills to build their careers and provide for their families. Also, a total of more than $600 million in contracts have been awarded to Detroit-based construction businesses; the 64 percent of contracts awarded to these businesses well outpaces the city of Detroit’s goal of 30 percent Detroit-based contracts awarded.

Investment in future workforce training supports even more skilled trade employment

An additional $6 million have been invested in training a new generation of skilled-trade workers through programs made to attract pre-apprentices and apprentices to the construction field in Detroit.

Outreach to Detroit businesses cornerstone of Michigan-Made, Detroit-Built goal

The Ilitch organization has conducted comprehensive workforce development and business participation outreach to help ensure local resident and business participation in the construction projects in The District Detroit and will continue outreach to unique local, minority- and women-owned businesses as potential retail partners.

Seeking residential development partners to bring even more residents to the area

Olympia Development of Michigan is currently accepting development proposals for the properties at 408 Temple St. (formerly the American Hotel) and 100 Temple St. (formerly the Alhambra). The District Detroit continues to pursue a goal of 20 percent affordable housing across all residential developments in total.

Further investment in community is a commitment to improving surrounding area

Support of the Detroit community through education, arts and park maintenance programs that touch the lives of neighbors of all ages will continue throughout all new development. This commitment builds on programs already underway including:

Cass Park Adoption—The 4-acre park has been maintained in partnership with Woodside Bible Church and has been cleaned and mowed, providing a walkable greenway within the neighborhood.

High School Internships— The Ilitch companies recently completed the fourth consecutive paid summer internship program with a total of 96 Cass Technical High School students. During the program, students worked for the Detroit Tigers, the Detroit Red Wings, Little Caesars, Olympia Entertainment and Olympia Development of Michigan, among others. 

Mike Ilitch School of Business Intern Program—Two new immersive internship opportunities have begun this year to bring Wayne State University MBA students closer to the action in The District Detroit. Interns will work with the Detroit Tigers and Olympia Entertainment over two years.

Public Art in The District Detroit—A gift of $800,000 in 2017 kicked off a new public arts partnership with the College for Creative Studies, which includes a new public sculpture to be installed in the District Detroit. 

Improving public safety at venues is an important part of giving back to the community

The Ilitch organization donated funds to purchase specially-trained dogs for local law enforcement, including the Michigan State Police, Wayne State University Police Department and the Detroit Police Department. The program provides law enforcement with the latest in threat-detection technology.

Enhancements to convenient, well-lit parking include credit card-ready technology

Surface parking lots have been significantly updated with new credit card technology, upgraded lighting, signage, landscaping and pre-purchase options over the last year. Four additional parking structures have also been constructed, making traveling to events easier than ever.

Continuing commitment to employment in Detroit

The Ilitch companies employ more than 8,000 people in Detroit and are more committed than ever to this city. The future is bright in The District Detroit.