Financing plan for new Red Wings arena approved

Financing plan for new Red Wings arena approved

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The site of the proposed complex The site of the proposed complex
(WJBK) -

The Detroit City Council approved two measures on Friday that would allow the Ilitch family to build a $450 million sports complex north of I-75 and west of Woodward Avenue. But the Council stopped short of approving an ordinance that would transfer ownership of the land.

VIDEO: Click on the video player above to watch the report from Fox 2's Alexis Wiley, or read the story below

The meeting was packed Friday as the Detroit City Council considered the next step for a proposed $450 million new complex that would include an arena for the Red Wings and an entertainment complex.

Every public dollar invested in the project is expected to generate a 14 dollar return, and the cash-strapped city isn't investing a dime from its general fund. There are plenty who say it's a win-win.

"That's creating a ton of jobs and it's creating lot of tax revenue as it relates to the income taxes," says George Jackson from the Detroit Economic Growth Corp.

But plenty of Detroiters and council members question whether the new arena project will actually benefit the people who live in this city. City Council voted on ordinances to expand the boundaries of the downtown Detroit Authority's District and allow it to capture the taxes in the area to help fund the project. But the Council decided to hold off on transferring city land until it gets some guarantees.

"We're very pleased that Council heard that the community is requesting that, if they move forward with the expansion of the DDA, which they did today, that there would be an opportunity for the community to be able to sit at the table as equal partners and negotiate benefits," says Detroiter Mary King.

"I want an assurance that Detroit residents and Detroit-based businesses will be included in the process long term," says City Council President Saunteel Jenkins.
"I think it's extremely important to work with Council. They represent the people and we're going to be responsible. I'm going to assure you, and I'm sure that Olympia Development will also be responsive to whatever issues we have to address," says Jackson.

The newly-elected City Council will vote on the land swap this upcoming February.

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