Red Wings’ new home would mean wrecking ball for Joe Louis Arena

Amid all the talk of the Detroit Red Wings‘ plans for a new $450 million downtown arena (public cost to the bankrupt city of Detroit: $284.5 million), little has been mentioned of what would happen to the Red Wings’ old home, Joe Louis Arena. Now it has been revealed: They’d tear it down, of course no team is going to want to have its old arena around to compete with it, what are you, nuts?

The state will pay to demolish Joe Louis Arena after the Detroit Red Wings move into a new facility sometime in 2017 or 2018…

The cost of the demolition and what could be built on JLA’s riverfront location haven’t been determined, said George Jackson, chief of the Detroit Economic Growth Corp., the quasi-public agency that staffs the DDA under a contact with the city.

Jackson said the demolition would happen not long after the Red Wings move out, pending an agreement with the state.

So tack on an as-yet-to-be-determined demolition bill to the public costs of this project. Given that it cost $2.9 million to raze the Pittsburgh Penguins‘ old Civic Arena two years ago, it probably won’t make a huge difference to a project already set to cost taxpayers 100 times that, but money is money.

The news about Joe Louis Arena’s fate came during a Downtown Development Authority special meeting to finally send a concession agreement (they’re not calling it a lease, but: it’s a lease) on the proposed new arena to the city council, at which point that body is expected to finally vote on whether to sign off on the deal. At last word it didn’t sound like councilmembers were going to raise too many serious objections, but we’ll see, maybe starting this week.

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2 comments on “Red Wings’ new home would mean wrecking ball for Joe Louis Arena

  1. I may be wrong, but I seem to remember the pitch in past arena proposals was that Detroit needed to build a new arena for the Red Wings so Cobo Hall could be expanded. I think the threat they used was that the North American International Auto Show might have to think about new venues, since it used up the entire space available and still needed more.

  2. Has anyone ever thought to mention the first rule of holes to Detroit and/or Michigan?

    I’ll spell it out: First rule of holes — stop digging!

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