Little Caesars unveils pizza-slice design for new HQ

Louis Aguilar
The Detroit News

The new Little Caesars headquarters will have 14-foot-tall glass windows shaped like slices of pizza, the product that is the foundation of the Ilitch family’s business success.

The new headquarters will be the latest self-tribute to the Ilitches on Woodward, where the family has invested billions since the fast food chain moved into its current base in the Fox Theatre in 1989.

The nine-story Little Caesars Global Resource Center is expected to begin construction this summer in the Woodward parking lot south of the Fox Theatre, the current headquarters of the world’s largest carry-out pizza chain. It will house 700 employees, and will have ground-floor retail on Columbia Street. The specific retailers have not been chosen, officials said.

“It’s an iconic anchor. It’s an attraction for local and national retailers who want to be close to this great brand,” said Steve Marquardt, vice president of Olympia Development of Michigan, the real estate development arm for the billion-dollar Ilitch family group of businesses. Those businesses include Little Caesars, the Detroit Red Wings and Tigers, Olympia Entertainment and plenty of downtown Detroit real estate.

The new headquarters will be the latest self-tribute to the Ilitches on Woodward, who have invested billions ever since the fast food chain moved into its current Fox headquarters in 1989. Back then, the current revival of downtown Woodward was far from certain.

The Little Caesars Global Resource Center will be three blocks south of the future Little Caesars Arena, the $627.5 million, 20,000-plus seat venue whose roof will be emblazoned with a huge Little Caesar’s logo. Next to the arena is the future Wayne State University Mike Ilitch School of Business, the $50 million facility expected to open 2018.

The cost of the Little Caesars headquarters hasn’t been finalized, officials said at a Tuesday press conference, but the 234,000-square-foot building will be paid for by private financing with no public tax dollars.

“The project is now in permitting,” with the city in order begin construction, Marquardt said. “It will followed by a groundbreaking later this summer.” On June 28, Olympia will officially begin to reach out to contractors.

The building will be the city’s first newly constructed corporate headquarters building in more than a decade and only the seventh since 1950, according to the Ilitch organization.

“Our business continues to grow so quickly ... it’s incredibly important to have an iconic Detroit building,’ said David Scrivano, president and CEO of Little Caesars.

Detroit-based SmithGroupJJR is the architect of record, and Detroit-based Brinker-Christman is the construction manager on the project.

“It’s incredibly important to have an iconic Detroit building” for our growing business, said David Scrivano, who heads Little Caesars.

Little Caesars is the world’s largest carry-out pizza chain and fastest-growing pizza chain in America with stores in all 50 United States and 18 international markets, officials said. Analysts said the $5 pizza, introduced in 2004 at a time of sluggish growth, helped the company become a global force in the world of carry-out food.

The headquarters is one of 14 planned new buildings the Ilitches intend to announce as part of its $650 million plan to transform 50 blocks of Detroit, mainly north of downtown, into an upscale area that will be anchored by the new home ice of the Red Wings.