New downtown arena for Red Wings closer to reality

The Detroit Red Wings are a step closer to playing in a new home.

On Wednesday, the Free Press revealed that Detroit's downtown development authority approved a memorandum of understanding with the Ilitch family to build a new arena in the area close to Comerica Park and Ford Field.

The new edifice is expected to serve as the centerpiece of a planned $650 million revitalization project for blighted stretches of the northern portion of the downtown area.

According to the paper, the current tentative deal calls for 56 percent of the total cost will be absorbed by private interests and the remainder from the public side, including a so-called "property tax capture" of nearly $13 million approved by the Michigan state legislature last year. Olympia Development, fronted by the Ilitches, would be on the hook for $11.5 million per year.

In its initial form, no money from either the City of Detroit or Wayne County will be used to fund the project.

Once any deal is finalized, it is expected construction will take up to two years.

The Red Wings have called the city of Detroit home since their 1926 inception. Detroit had played in the now-demolished Olympia from 1927 until the early portion of the 1979-80 season before moving into Joe Louis Arena.