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Little Caesars Arena Benefits From Timing

Detroit Red Wings

Little Caesars Arena is already receiving hype for some of its amenities, and Detroit Red Wing officials say that timing factored into the design. 

As we have covered here before, Little Caesars Arena will offer some interesting features. Aside from the planned District Detroit development that will encompass the surrounding area, the project will also feature several interesting features within the venue–including an underground practice rink, gondola seating, and a concourse that can host large-scale events.

For the Red Wings, the move out of Joe Louis Arena will come after years discussion about how to replace the venue. First opening in 1979, Joe Louis Arena is currently the second-oldest arena in the NHL and has not been maintained to the same extent as Madison Square Garden, the league’s most-tenured facility.

In some respects, the Red Wings may have wanted Little Caesars Arena to come to fruition earlier. However, team officials admits that the timing allowed them to consider what features from current venues could be incorporated in the design of Little Caesars Arena. More from

That was a disadvantage of being the last of a generation,” Tom Wilson, president & CEO of Olympia Entertainment, said. “The advantage of being the last one is we’ve been able to go to every building in the country and take everybody’s best or second-best idea. We’ve been to New York and Dallas and Chicago and Miami and Pittsburgh, the latest new (arena). We’ve borrowed the best ideas from everybody, so hopefully when we open, this will be the best of the best ideas in the country, all rolled into one place.

“The sightlines are literally the best in hockey, which means that if they’re great for hockey, they’re going to be great for basketball, they’re going to be great for family shows and great for concerts.”

Wilson gave media a tour of the District Detroit Preview Center on Thursday. It is located in Comerica Park and features a 109-square foot District model, a 42-square foot arena model and a 600-square foot replica suite.

Red Wings ownership asked general manager Ken Holland his opinion of the most intimidating building in the league.

“Kenny thought it was Montreal (Bell Centre) because there’s no light coming in from any place,” Wilson said. “It’s just a bunch of red jerseys everywhere you look, screaming at you in French. He said, ‘I’m the GM and I’m intimidated when we play there.’

“So that became the model. It’s very steep. People are right on top of you. The difference is in Montreal they don’t have the leg room and they don’t have the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) restrictions. Even with that, this building is tighter than Montreal.”

Having a broad sample of arenas to consider can certainly help bring some ideas to the design process. It will be interesting to see how these features play out when Little Caesars Arena opens for the 2017-2018 NHL season.

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