Shocker: The Ilitches failed to meet yet another District Detroit deadline


District Detroit. - TOM PERKINS
  • Tom Perkins
  • District Detroit.

The Ilitch family has missed yet another deadline to start developing property around Little Caesar's Arena in the lower Cass Corridor.

Crain's reports that the Detroit Economic Growth Corp., the quasi-public entity that must approve district development plans, confirmed that no plans have been submitted for Ilitch-owned land on the northwest corner of Woodward Avenue and Interstate 75.

DEGC spokesperson Charlotte Fisher told Crain's, "There is no plan before the [Downtown Development Authority] for the development of this parcel but we are currently in ongoing discussions with [the] developer to identify next steps."

It doesn't appear that there will be any consequence for the billionaire Ilitch family, even though the DEGC already granted the Ilitches a one-year extension in June 2018.

This is, of course, nothing new. The Ilitches have failed to redevelop most of the District Detroit, and has missed deadlines for multiple other properties, including the Hotel Eddystone.

The Ilitches received nearly $400 million in direct taxpayer assistance to build an arena and a neighborhood around it that would sizzle with restaurants, bars, retail, residential, and nightlife. Instead, the District Detroit is a wasteland of blighted buildings, parking garages, and surface parking lots. What little development the district has seen — parking garages and a new headquarters for Little Caesars pizza — has not been what the Ilitches promised taxpayers in exchange for the money.

When one factors in other changes to its taxes, the Ilitch family's public incentive package is worth at least $740 million if the arena is open for 48 years, as the Ilitches say it will be. And though it continues missing deadlines, the family is still asking for more taxpayer money.

Stay on top of Detroit news and views. Sign up for our weekly issue newsletter delivered each Wednesday.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Detroit Metro Times. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Detroit Metro Times, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Detroit Metro Times works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Detroit and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Detroit's true free press free.