Ilitches add to their downtown property collection

Louis Aguilar
The Detroit News
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The billionaire Ilitch family has purchased another building within the 50-block district anchored by many of their key Detroit properties, including the soon-to-debut Little Caesars Arena.

The historic, empty Women’s City Club, 2110 Park Avenue, in downtown’s Grand Circus Park was bought for $5.85 million by an entity connected to the owners of Little Caesars pizza chain and Detroit Red Wings.

This latest purchase involves the empty historic Women’s City Club of Detroit, on the northeast corner of Park and Elizabeth. The six-story, 75,000-square-foot building sold for $5.85 million earlier this year, according to city records.

The building was purchased by a firm that lists its address as 2211 Woodward Ave., which is home of the Fox Theatre and current headquarters of the Little Caesars pizza chain and Ilitch Holdings Inc.

Representatives for the Ilitches did not respond to an email request for comment on Wednesday.

The Women’s City Club building is one block west of the Fox and the still-under-construction Little Caesars Global Resource Center, the $150 million corporate headquarters for the world’s largest carry-out pizza chain.

The nearby arena, the sports and entertainment complex named after their pizza chain, will be home to the family’s Detroit Red Wings professional hockey team.

The Women’s City Club building, 2110 Park Ave., is an area where Ilitch entities began to buy up properties about a decade because it was potentially one of the locations considered for the new arena, public documents show. The properties include surface parking lots and empty buildings clustered around Grand Circus Park and along Grand River and Cass Avenue.

This historical plaque hangs on the Women’s City Club building, at the corner of Elizabeth and Park. The downtown Detroit property has been bought for $5.85 million by an entity connected to the owners of the Little Caesars pizza and Detroit Red Wings.

The 20,000-plus-seat Little Caesars Arena will be home to the Red Wings and the Detroit Pistons. The arena also is expected to become the top concert venue in the area. It will be surrounded by two new buildings filled with offices, stores and apartments. The 12-acre site plans also include plenty of new outdoor space that will include retail and public space.

Little Caesars was founded by Mike and Marian Ilitch and its the lynchpin of the Ilitch-controlled empire that includes the Detroit Red Wings, Detroit Tigers, the MotorCity Casino Hotel, the Fox Theatre, Olympia Entertainment and an increasing amount of property of Detroit property.

The Ilitches are the driving force behind the sports and entertainment complex and the accompanying development plan, called District Detroit,. The district also borders the MotorCity Casino.

To accumulate the land needed to build the arena, the Ilitches spent nearly $50 million and years secretly buying at least 56 properties from dozens of private owners, public records show.

Beyond the arena but within the 50-block planned development area, entities connected to Ilitches control many properties and continue to buy more land.

Twitter: @LouisAguilar_DN

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