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A Year in Review: The District Detroit 2018

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Another year is closing, and the rapidly-developing The District Detroit has much to celebrate as 2019 approaches.

In addition to reveling the first anniversary of Little Caesars Arena—a premier sports and entertainment venue that has attracted 3 million guests since opening—the dynamic destination has helped attract Google and other world-class businesses and establishments to Detroit. Olympia Development has also made progress in working toward redeveloping some of the city’s bygone-era treasures, such as the historic Detroit Life Building.

Here’s a closer look at what happened in 2018:

January 2018

A fundraising effort at The Little Caesars world headquarters campus expansion helped ring in the with a highly successful campaign for Metro Elevator’s Ride the Pink Elevator initiative. The construction-site fundraiser broke a record by raising nearly $22,000 to fight breast cancer in a partnership with Susan G. Komen and Metro Elevator.

The Mike Ilitch School of Business at Wayne State University—the new academic building made possible by a historic $40 million donation from Mike and Marian Ilitch—announced the Detroit Police Department’s Leadership Academy. The program is giving local law enforcement officers from WSU and the City of Detroit tools to better police the city, making surrounding communities even safer.

April 2018

Through new construction and historic renovation, The District Detroit is bringing even more restaurants, shops and office space to Detroit. The next phase of development includes the restoration of five historic buildings and three new-construction buildings.

Historic redevelopment projects include the Detroit Life Building, the Women’s City Club and the Albert Kahn-designed building at 1922 Cass Ave.

May 2018

An estimated 3,500 members of the Urban Land Institute, a global organization for real estate industry professionals, descended upon The District Detroit to study Detroit’s resurgence for its annual Spring Meeting. The gathering, which included visits to Little Caesars Arena and other major venues and significant sites in the vicinity, marked the group’s first meeting in the city in 40 years.

June 2018

The Ilitch organization and the Detroit Medical Center announced a long-term agreement to build a state-of-the-art Sports Medicine Institute at 2715 Woodward Ave. The facility will be in a five-story, 127,000-square-foot medical/office building between the Mike Ilitch School of Business and Little Caesars Arena. In addition to hosting a premier medical facility, the structure along Woodward Avenue near Sproat Street will also boast Class A office space and street-level retail. 

July 2018

The Ilitch organization welcomed its fourth consecutive class of student interns from Cass Technical High School. The professional development program gives teens first-hand experience in corporate fields such as IT, accounting, communications, event operations and human resources.

Later that month, the largest gathering of black journalists and other media professionals stopped by the City Theatre inside Hockeytown Café, along with Little Caesars Arena, to help kick off its 43rd annual convention. The week-long event, held downtown, marked the first time in 26 years, the advocacy organization hosted its annual gathering in Detroit.

August 2018

The long-awaited Mike Ilitch School of Business opened to students, welcoming more than 4,000 faculty, staff and students during a joyful ribbon-cutting ceremony. The same month, the Ilitch organization and the Sport and Entertainment Management program at the business school launched a competitive, two-year paid internship program for graduate students.

September 2018

Little Caesars Arena celebrates its first birthday, having earned 15 awards since its debut, including the prestigious “Sports Facility of the Year” award by the SportsBusiness Journal.

The Columbia Street retail destination, near the historic Fox Theatre and the Little Caesars world headquarters campus expansion, begins to take shape with two new tenant announcements. Ann Arbor-based businesses The M Den and Frida Batidos announced their first Detroit locations, which will bring authentic University of Michigan apparel and inventive, Cuban street fare-inspired fare to The District Detroit. Upon its opening, the corridor will feature about 40,000 square feet of new retail along a European-style promenade featuring Cobblestone paving, festoon lights and al fresco dining space.

Nearby, the renovation of the Detroit Life Building façade continues. The historic building, which opened in the 1920s, continues to be transformed into 32,000 square feet of Class A office space and 6,000 square feet of street-level retail.

October 2018

The award-winning Sahara Restaurant & Grill, a local Mediterranean and Middle Eastern restaurant chain, revealed that it would join in on the excitement along Columbia Street. Owners announced plans to open a 4,500-square-foot location among other retailers.

The month also included the announcement yet another tenant at 2715 Woodward Ave. Law firm Warner Norcross + Judd, LLP revealed plans to become the sole tenant of the building’s third floor, occupying nearly 30,000 square feet of space. The modern workplace will house about 55 attorneys and a range of amenities overlooking Woodward Avenue.

November 2018

Google celebrates the opening of its new 30,000-square-foot location adjacent to Little Caesars Arena with unique décor that boasts a Motor City flair. The office occupies the arena’s Henry Street office building. The space gives the access to world-class entertainment and sports venues and restaurants like Kid Rock’s Made in Detroit, Mike’s Pizza Bar, the District Market and Sports & Social Detroit.

About The District Detroit

The District Detroit is a dynamic urban destination in the heart of Detroit. One that includes something for everyone—a dense neighborhood experience with a variety of developments alongside Detroit’s premier sports and entertainment venues. Connecting downtown Detroit to growing nearby neighborhoods such as Midtown, Corktown and Brush Park, The District Detroit is having a dramatic economic impact on Detroit and is a driving catalyst of the city’s remarkable resurgence. The District Detroit represents $1.4 billion in new investment to Detroit including the new Little Caesars Arena, Mike Ilitch School of Business at Wayne State University and Little Caesars world headquarters campus expansion. Additionally, new office, residential and retail spaces will continue to add momentum to Detroit’s amazing comeback for years to come.