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Detroit — Chris Ilitch, president and CEO of Ilitch Holdings, with Olympia Development and Detroit Medical Center officials announced Thursday the start of construction on a $70 million sports medical center and law office space on Woodward. 

The five-story DMC facility and Warner Norcross and Judd Law office space broke ground at 2715 Woodward, between the Little Caesars Arena and the Mike Ilitch School of Business at Wayne State University. It is expected to be completed in 18 months.

The 127,000-square-foot construction project will replace a former surface parking lot at Sproat Street and will also have 17,000-square-feet of street-level retail space. 

While introducing the construction, Ilitch said the new building "truly represents the progress of District Detroit."

"This building is all about the progress and momentum that is taking place in our city," Ilitch said. "We'll see hundreds of construction and permanent jobs, increased economic activity and more importantly, two world-class organizations that will proudly call District Detroit their home."

Olympia Development and DMC entered a 20-year agreement to build and operate the 50,000-square-foot sports medicine facility in June. 

DMC has served as the healthcare provider for the Detroit Red Wings and Detroit Tigers for the last 10 years and Dr. Anthony Tedeschi, CEO of DMC, said they are excited to offer on-site orthopedic care for players during games at LCA and Comerica Park.

The sports facility will have trained clinical and rehabilitation teams along with medical research and sports simulation services that will serve professional, collegiate and young athletes, Tedeschi said.

"The facility will offer the best-in-class injury management and performance improvement services supported by sports science, biomechanics and other innovative therapies," Tedeschi said. "This long-term investment demonstrates DMC's unwavering commitment to athletes in  our communities."

The center will have a mobile MRI, rehab pool, golf simulator, basketball court, a 40-yard track and a nutrition bar. The center plans to collaborate with Exos, a nationally recognized sports management and enhancement company.

Warner Norcross and Judd, a law firm that began 80 years ago in Grand Rapids, is the second tenant of the center. The firm will bring 55 attorneys to their 30,000-square-foot office in the center, said Linda Paullin-Hebden, executive partner of the firm's Southfield office. 

"We've been located in Southfield since 2004 but knew Detroit is where we had to be," she said. "This puts us right in the center of the action and where our clients want to be, too."

No tenants for the retail space have been announced. Keith Bradford, senior vice president of operations for Olympia Development, said they're speaking to several retailers who are interested in being on Woodward.

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Bradford said the building will thrive like the others around it. He said since announcing their gift to open the Mike Ilitch School of Business, total enrollment has increased by a third to 4,200 students, graduate enrollment has increased by two-thirds with more than 1,400 students. LCA had more than 4 million guests since it opened just over a year and a half ago, he said.

"It'll be a great addition, not only to District Detroit but to the city of Detroit," Bradford said. "Things thrive here ... these buildings represent high-quality development and attracts others who want to be part of the progress."

srahal@detroitnews.com
Twitter: @SarahRahal_

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