from John Gallagher of the Detroit Free Press,
Responding to months of criticism over his organization's shortfall of development around Little Caesars Arena, Christopher Ilitch said Wednesday his timelines for building a lively pedestrian-oriented district proved overly aggressive but his family's passion for Detroit remains strong.
His interview with the Free Press on Wednesday marked the first time Ilitch has publicly discussed delays in building out the vision of District Detroit that he sold to the public five years ago. That vision included renderings of sidewalk cafés, people strolling in the evening, and buildings old and new filled with new tenants.
Virtually none of that has happened. Along Cass Avenue behind the Fox Theatre area, multiple surface parking lots operated by the Ilitch organization sit where the district was to have risen. Of six residential projects Ilitch outlined two years ago this month, none has started construction.
In a 15-minute interview with the Free Press arranged after several weeks of requests, Ilitch read a short opening statement and answered most questions about District Detroit by returning to his prepared talking points.