More Changes In The Motor City: The District Detroit

More Changes In The Motor City: The District Detroit

Recently, The Awesome Mitten was lucky enough to be one of a few special groups to get an exclusive preview and tour of “The District Detroit,” the area’s newest, largest anticipated entertainment district. The preview center, located inside Comerica Park, features dioramas, models, plans, and samples of the new Little Caesars Arena.

The entertainment district is poised to rival the largest entertainment districts, second only to New York City and beating out Cleveland, Ohio in the number 3 spot.

The District Detroit - The Awesome Mitten
District Detroit grid display. Photo by Sarah Spohn.

The district will feature a five-star hotel, arenas, theaters, historic buildings, shopping, residential areas, offices, cafes and eateries spread out over a 50-block-radius. The District Detroit spans five neighborhoods and will be home to five teams: Detroit Pistons (basketball), Detroit Red Wings (hockey), Detroit Tigers (baseball), Detroit Lions (football), and a proposed new Major League Soccer team.

Plenty of live entertainment already comes into town via Woodward Avenue, and its 20,000 theater seats with shows at the Fox Theatre, The Fillmore, Fischer Theatre, and Masonic Temple (to name a few), but The District Detroit promises to bring even more every night of the week. An expected 16 million guests each year will visit the entertainment hub, making the area the largest private urban development in the country.

Designated to secure Detroit as even more of a go-to destination for concerts, sports, dining, nightlife, bars, breweries, outdoor parks, recreation and a vibrant city full of life, The District Detroit has lofty goals and an even loftier budget for revitalization.

The project is estimated at $1.2 billion and in turn, could generate a whopping $2.1 billion in economic impact to the city, region and Mitten State.

Also included in the plans is the new Little Caesars Arena, where both the Pistons and Red Wings will play. The arena will have a deconstructed bowl, labeled one of the steepest seating setups in the NHL and loudest arenas out there. The size will hold 20,000 people, making it smaller than the Joe Louis Arena, and about the same capacity as the Palace of Auburn Hills.

The District Detroit - The Awesome Mitten
Diorama model of the future Little Caesar’s Arena opening for the 2017-2018 season, Photo by Sarah Spohn.

The fully-indoor arena will be totally enclosed with a clear roof, offering spaces for additional events throughout the calendar year, including markets, art exhibits, flower shows, concerts and more.

The impressive 60 arena suites were sold in just 20 days, some at $400,000 each, and season tickets for the 2017-2018 Red Wings season are fairing well also.

A public plaza is planned for the area outside of the arena, welcoming tailgating and pre-gaming for sports days, and hosting other events throughout the year.  A glass-enclosed indoor street, named the Via, will host public events, encouraging residents and out-of-towners alike to come downtown early for pre-show eats, day drinks and more both before and after activities.

The District Detroit - The Awesome Mitten
A rendering of the new plans under construction. Photo by District Detroit.

Also within The District will be the Wayne State University’s Mike Illitch School of Business. Despite his recent passing, plenty of future generations will be able to carry on the legacy of lifelong learning, through this educational institute.

The District Detroit - The Awesome Mitten
Diorama of District Detroit’s encompassing theaters, arenas, bars, business school and more. Photo by Sarah Spohn.

In fact, most of this and other Detroit-area venues, ventures, and projects would not have been possible, if not for the Illitch family. Husband-and-wife business partners Mike and Marian Illitch started Little Caesar’s Pizza in Garden City, Michigan that later turned it into a worldwide restaurant empire. The Detroiters are responsible for $40 million in funds they provided to The District Detroit.

Plans for a bigger, better, brighter District Detroit look very promising in showcasing downtown Detroit’s many offerings; so what are you most excited for?