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The Malik Report

Dueling arena banjos: don’t expect Red Wings’ follow-on rink to break ground this year?

The competing storylines about the Red Wings' desire to build a follow-on rink to replace Joe Louis Arena, as part of a $650 million mixed-use development which will be located between Cass and Woodward Avenues just north of I-75, have become something of a contest of late. On Sunday, Crain's Detroit Business's Bill Shea told us that the probably corporately named rink (the Belle Tire?) may "break ground" this year, and today, the Detroit News's Louis Aguilar wants to put the brakes on that scenario:

A University of Michigan professor who is a consultant on a potential $650 million, 35-acre sports and entertainment complex in Detroit dismissed earlier media reports that said he predicted construction for the downtown project could begin this fall. Rosentraub said he didn't intend to give a firm timeline for the project that includes a new home for the Detroit Red Wings professional hockey team.

"I was responding to a hypothetical and I said first A, B, C and D need to happen. The rest of the scenario was left out. It went straight to the conclusion without giving the context," Rosentraub said. He said he doesn't know, nor is he willing to predict, when construction could begin.

The co-director of the university's Michigan Center for Sport Management helped Wings owner Mike Ilitch prepare to win legislative approval for a key piece of funding for the project. The new state law allows the city's Downtown Development Authority to approve $12.8 million a year for the project.

DDA officials now need to approve that funding, and there is no deadline when they may decide. The DDA's $12.8 million revenue stream comes from school taxes. The money, previously used for another purpose, would help fund and retire bonds for the sports project.

One of the city's main negotiators in the project said last month he couldn't predict when plans for the project will be made public.

George Jackson, president and CEO of the Detroit Economic Growth Corp., which helps run the downtown authority, said the organization and Ilitch are in weekly discussions regarding an agreement for an arena and entertainment district. But he said he didn't know when an agreement would be reached.


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About The Malik Report

The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.