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Ilitch pitches new downtown arena for Wings

Joe Louis Arena

Championship banners hang from the rafters at the empty Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, seen in this Wednesday, Feb. 16, 2005, file photo. Red Wings owner Mike Ilitch and his family have moved a longtime senior executive into a new job to determine whether Joe Louis Arena should be renovated or a new home should be built for the team. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)


Red Wings ownership is proposing a $650 million development for downtown Detroit that would be anchored by a new arena for the NHL club.

The development being pitched to state lawmakers would be a public-private partnership that includes both commercial and residential components. Otherwise, details are scant.

“It’s always been my dream to once again see a vibrant downtown Detroit,” said Wings owner Mike Ilitch in a press release.

A new downtown home for the Wings has been the subject of speculation for years. The team’s present home, Joe Louis Arena, opened in 1979, making it the fourth oldest arena in the league.

The oldest arena in the NHL is Madison Square (1968), which is currently undergoing an extensive renovation.

The second oldest is Nassau Coliseum (1972), home of the Islanders, who will be moving to a new building in Brooklyn in 2015.

The third oldest is Edmonton’s Rexall Place (1974). The Oilers are also hoping to build a new downtown rink, though plans have recently hit a snag.

Related: Architects reportedly hired to design new Red Wings arena