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NHL’s Red Wings unveil arena development plans

National Hockey League (NHL) ice hockey franchise the Detroit Red Wings has announced plans to develop and construct a sports and entertainment district in the city.

The plans, unveiled by real-estate firm Olympia Development of Michigan, include the construction of an arena that will be the new home of the Red Wings. The NHL outfit has played its home games at the Joe Louis Arena since 1979 but is now scheduled to move into its new home in the summer of 2017.

The project will connect existing and new development efforts in the downtown and midtown areas of Detroit, including Ford Field, home of NFL American football team the Detroit Lions and Comerica Park, which hosts MLB baseball franchise the Detroit Tigers. Groundbreaking is due to take place later this year while the total cost of the project is expected to amount to $650m (€477m).

“It’s always been my dream to see a vibrant and energised downtown Detroit,” Red Wings chairman, and owner of Olympia Development of Michigan’s parent company Illitch Holdings, Mike Ilitch, said. “I want people to look at Detroit’s new sports and entertainment district and see what I see: the potential for something very special.”

The construction of the district, including the arena, is expected to create approximately 8,300 construction-related jobs and 1,100 permanent jobs in Detroit. Organisers said the project will spur at least $1.8bn in economic impact for the city, region and state.

Christopher Illitch, president and chief executive officer of Illitch Holdings, added: “We’ve done business in Detroit for nearly 50 years, and this is our most significant and ambitious project here yet. Our vision for the new arena is for a one-of-a-kind facility that fits in with its neighbourhood, that is authentic to our Detroit roots and offers an unmatched fan experience.

“We will build a revolutionary venue for hockey, music, entertainment and community events, and at the same time, a vibrant mixed-use neighbourhood surrounding it.”