Ilitch-funded sports medicine institute, run by DMC, coming near LCA

Breana Noble
The Detroit News
Detroit Medical Center and Olympia Development of Michigan announced Wednesday construction of a new sports medicine facility adjacent to Little Caesars Arena.

Detroit Medical Center announced Wednesday the construction of an Ilitch-funded $65-million sports medicine facility for all levels of athletes next to Little Caesars Arena.

DMC and Olympia Development of Michigan introduced their plans for the five-story, 127,000-square-foot DMC Sports Medicine Institute at Woodward Avenue and Sproat Street, a project more than 12 years in the making. The state-of-the-art, comprehensive care facility for professional, collegiate, high school and recreational athletes is replacing a surface parking lot. The facility is projected to open in 2020, DMC CEO Dr. Anthony Tedeschi said.

"The DMC Sports Medicine Institute will be a place where an up-and-coming athlete can build his or her skills and increase performance," Tedeschi said, "where a budding athlete can learn how to enhance performance through things like biomechanical analyses and strength training, and where a professional athlete can depend on injury assessments, rehabilitation, and even where motion and nutritional analyses can help an athlete get back into the game, really giving him a competitive advantage."

Currently, professional athletes from Detroit and Michigan's college athletes often leave the state for training, evaluations, and treatment for injuries, according to the DMC. The institute is expected to serve the growing demand in southeast Michigan and become a destination for athletes from all over, Tedeschi said.

"Facilities such as the one we're creating here in Detroit have become highly sought-after for choice athletes in all stages of their development or career," said Eric Evans, president of hospital operations for Tenet Healthcare Corp. "We're very proud to be able to offer this here in Detroit."

DMC is renting 50,000 square feet of the facility, which will allow for collaboration among physicians, therapists, trainers and researchers and include a golf simulator, 3-point basketball court, and a 40-yard track. A mobile MRI and rehab pool are some of the specialty rehab service the institute will offer. Space also is available for research and education, including through a bioskills lab with simulated operating rooms.

Tedeschi also announced DMC's new partnership with Exos, a nationally recognized company that provides tailored performance enhancement programs to athletes.

"Players, coaches, in fact even referees and umpires tell us that they never want to get hurt," said Stephen Lemos, the division chief of DMC's sports medicine program, "but if they do, they want it to be in Detroit because of the care we provide them."

Another 60,000 square feet of space in the building will be available for office or complimentary medical tenants. Four floors of the development provide Class A office space. The remaining area includes 17,000 square feet of street-level retail.

"It also takes advantage of new foot traffic and activity that is occurring all year around Little Caesars Arena, something we haven't seen in this area for many, many years," Ilitch Holdings Inc. CEO and President Chris Ilitch said.

The development is expected to create 20 to 30 new medical positions and hundreds of construction jobs.

The complex is a part of Phase 2 of Olympia's District Detroit project that seeks to encourage business development surrounding the Red Wings' arena. In April, the company announced it was investing $200 million in creating and renovating 500,000 square-feet of retail space across six building developments. Olympia already has invested $1.2 billion into the initiative.

The DMC has provided medical service to the Ilitch-owned Detroit Tigers and Red Wings for a decade.

Presenters said the institute will serve all four Detroit professional sports team, though the Henry Ford-Detroit Pistons Performance Center is rising about two miles away at Amsterdam Street and Second Avenue. Construction started on the 175,000-square-foot training, rehabilitation, and sports medicine facility in October.

"We have been a partner with Henry Ford for many, many years," Tedeschi said. "I think they are focusing on their athletes in the community."

Ilitich said construction on the DMC Sports Medicine Institute is expected to begin next year.