Now that the state of Michigan has approved bankrupt Detroit spending $284.5 million on a new Red Wings arena — the Detroit city council still has to approve the final lease, though that doesn’t seem like it’ll be a major hurdle — Wings owner Mike Ilitch is moving ahead to cash the check and build his new $650 million arena-plus-retail/housing/office-district … um, someday?
An official for the Ilitch-owned Olympia Entertainment company told MLive on Tuesday at Detroit’s Joe Louis Arena there’s no timetable for the project proposed near Comerica Park and the Fox Theatre and “not much to comment” about it.
“We’re going to do it at the right time and make sure that it’s done right working with all the constituents that we have to work with,” said Tom Wilson, Olympia’s president and CEO. “But there’s nothing to report at this point.”
I’m not actually sure how long Ilitch can sit on the money without spending it — right now the Detroit Downtown Development Authority is just authorized to sell bonds for the project, so it’s certainly conceivable that if the DDA at some time in the future decided that this was an inane idea after all, they could call the whole thing off. Clearly the Red Wings owner isn’t concerned about that at the moment, though, so he’s happy enough to wait for a market to develop for the $200 million in other crap he’s promised to surround his $450 million arena with, so the public subsidy looks smaller by comparison. You just have to hope he doesn’t plan on building the arena first, then leaving the other stuff that’s coming out of his own pocket for later or never … but no, no one would be so fiendish as to do that.