Commission votes to raze historic hotel for new Detroit Red Wings arena


Eddystone Hotel (left), Park Avenue Hotel (right) - VIA FLICKR CREATIVE COMMONS, USER AIDAN WAKELY-MULRONEY
  • via Flickr Creative Commons, user Aidan Wakely-Mulroney
  • Eddystone Hotel (left), Park Avenue Hotel (right)

The Detroit Historic District Commission voted Wednesday to raze a historic hotel situated in the footprint of a new Detroit Red Wings arena, despite the objections of preservationists who say it could've been maintained for redevelopment. The move will allow the Red Wings' owner to construct a loading dock area at the new facility. 

The 3-1 vote followed a string of public comments from Detroit officials who urged approval of the demolition in order to facilitate the $450 million development.

In particular, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan's economic chief Tom Lewand delivered a pair of remarks that puzzled some observers. For example, from the Detroit Free Press

Lewand also said allowing Olympia to tear down the Park Avenue would encourage the Ilitches to take steps toward preservation of 15 other historic properties they own.

"To me this is a big step toward preservation of those buildings," Lewand said.

The Ilitch family has said it will redevelop the Park Avenue's neighbor, the historic Eddystone Hotel.

About 60 percent of the arena's construction costs will be funded by public money. The project is expected to create 400 full- and part-time jobs once the arena is operational; as a result, city records show Detroit is expected to receive $15.8 million in additional income taxes over the next 30 years.

Olympia swiftly issued a press release following the vote, saying the arena is expected to open in fall 2017. 

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