Metro Detroit Catholic churches prepare for protests, disruptions following abortion ruling

Ilitches share vision for downtown developments

Louis Aguilar
The Detroit News

Last May, the Ilitch organization declared it was about to embark on one of the largest residential development projects Detroit had seen in decades, announcing plans for six buildings that would create 686 residential units, with 139 of those units reserved for “affordable housing.”

On Monday, the Ilitches’ Olympia Development of Michigan said it has changed some of those plans. Two of those new buildings originally slated for a total of 232 residential units will now be used for office and retail space. 

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The two buildings planned for Henry Street are among six developments announced Monday. The developments include the restoration of three vacant historic buildings near the Ilitch-owned Fox Theatre and construction of three buildings near Little Caesars Arena, Arena, the sports and entertainment complex which opened in September. The restoration of two of those historic buildings has been mentioned by Ilitch officials since 2013. 

The new details announced Monday show that the Ilitch family’s campaign to overhaul 50 blocks around its key Detroit properties is still a work in progress. It was nearly six years ago the billionaire family first announced its grand ambitions. Key Ilitch developments in the 50-block area around the arena include the new headquarters for its Little Caesars pizza chain and the future Wayne State University Mike Ilitch School of Business.  The city-owned arena is home ice for the Ilitches’ Detroit Red Wings; the Ilitches' Olympia Entertainment manages the facility and books entertainment events there.

Six new construction and redevelopment projects totaling $200 million are planned for Detroit

The six potential developments add up to nearly $200 million in investment. Three of the buildings will be newly built and three will be redeveloped. 

The three new buildings are near Little Caesars Arena:

2715 Woodward, a $65 million project, will stand between the arena and the Mike Ilitch business school. It will have 110,000 square feet of office space and 17,000 square feet of street-level retail.

111 Henry, a $20 million office, retail and parking development, will create 50,000 square feet of office space and 7,000 square feet of retail.

120 Henry, a $48 million project adjacent to Chevy Plaza at the arena, will create 100,000 square feet of office space and another 20,000 of street-level retail.

The three redevelopments are near the Fox Theatre.

2210 Park, formerly the Detroit Life Building, is a $17 million project that will create 32,000 square feet of office space and another 6,000 of retail. 

1922 Cass is an Albert Kahn building that will be redesigned by Albert Kahn Associates. It will bring 66,000 square feet of office space and 8,000 square feet of retail to Midtown.

2110 Park, a six-story building, will have 47,000 square feet of office space and 10,000 square feet of retail. 

All told, the projects announced Monday could create 455,000 square feet of office space and 65,000 square feet of retail. 

“This new investment puts the focus on the redevelopment of historic buildings while bringing high-demand retail and office space that will contribute to Detroit’s economy,” Christopher Ilitch, president and CEO of Ilitch Holdings Inc., said in a statement. 

Olympia Development said it’s exploring whether to have residential units at the Blenheim Building at 2218 Park Ave. The plan is still “to pursue a 20 percent affordable housing goal” among new residential units planned in the 50-block area, said Olympia Development spokesman. 

 Olympia didn’t provide any details of any potential commercial tenants for the six buildings.

The Ilitch family announced its epic development plan, now called District Detroit, in December 2012. It came after than more than a decade of acquiring property – occasionally using shell companies – in the area marked by empty buildings and lots.

The announcement comes on the week that 3,500 real estate developers, urban planners and others from across that nation and world will convene in Detroit for the Urban Land Institute’s spring meeting. It’s the first time the influential organization has met in Detroit since the ‘70s.

On Wednesday afternoon, Chris Ilitch along with Quicken Loans Inc. founder Dan Gilbert, whose Bedrock is a major downtown Detroit land owner, will be on a panel together at the conference discussing the city’s development.

Twitter: @LouisAguilar_DN