The Detroit city council is voting today on whether to sell a large swath of vacant downtown land to Red Wings owner Mike Ilitch for $1 as part of his arena plan, and the Detroit Free Press has tried to figure out how much that land is actually worth on the open market. Not tried too hard, mind you, but tried to the extent that it’s figured out:
- Ilitch has spent almost $50 million buying up private parcels for his arena-plus-other-development project.
- One owner of a three-quarter-acre lot with a one-story building on it got a whopping $20.4 million.
- The official assessed value of the publicly owned portion, which is supposed to represent half the market value, is $2.9 million.
From what I can tell from the not-very-clear map accompanying the Freep article, the size of the publicly owned parcels is a little bigger than the size of the parcels that Ilitch has already bought, which would give us an estimated market price of somewhere north of $50 million. If we add that to the $266 million in arena costs already being covered by taxpayers, that’s … let’s call it “more than $300 million” in public subsidies for this project. If it’s approved at today’s council meeting, that is. The session starts at 10 am ET, and you should be able to watch here.