The process of demolishing Joe Louis Arena will begin in the coming months, as an agreement calls for Detroit to begin work on the project by May.
Home to the Detroit Red Wings from 1979-2017, Joe Louis Arena has been expected to be demolished since the team moved to Little Caesars Arena. The land has been pledged to bond insurer Financial Guaranty Insurance Co., with FGIC expected to undertake a project that includes a hotel with 300 rooms, with the potential for additional development that includes offices, retail and residential.
FGIC received the land’s development rights in exchange for accepting losses during Detroit’s 2013-14 bankruptcy, and has an agreement in place with the city that calls for demolition work to begin within 90 days of the expiration of the Red Wings and Olympia Entertainment‘s Joe Louis Arena lease. Olympia Entertainment exercised extensions that carried the lease past its initial expiration in September, but its latest extension expired last Wednesday.
At minimum, Detroit will have to start “staging for the demolition” by May 1, and would have a full year to completely tear down Joe Louis Arena. More from The Detroit Free Press:
City spokesman John Roach said Friday that city officials in coming months will start preliminary demolition-related work, such as environmental surveys of the arena site. However, “mobilization for the knock-down phase” won’t happen by the 90-day mark in May, he said.
Detroit has yet to determine when and how it will take down the arena, including whether any explosives will be used, such as were employed at the Pontiac Silverdome, Roach said.
But once the arena is gone, the city is to hand over the 5-acre site (plus that of the nearby 3,200-space Joe Louis Arena garage) to its former bondholder, the Financial Guaranty Insurance Co.
The Red Wings debuted at Little Caesars Arena, which they share with the NBA’s Pistons, at the start of the 2017-18 NHL season.