Ilitch business school to be vision of activity

For years, the southwest corner of Woodward Avenue and Temple Street was a dead zone. Wayne State University is designing its new Mike Ilitch School of Business at that corner to sharply contrast with this past. Classrooms facing Temple and Woodward will look outward and have lots of glass so passersby will see plenty of activity. Since most of the school's students attend evening classes, there also will be plenty of light emanating from the classrooms. On the first floor right at that corner will be a room that simulates a trading-room floor, with a stock ticker and monitors displaying business news channels. "Driving down Woodward on the way to a game, you will see a lot of activity and light," said the dean of the business school, Robert Forsythe. Mike and Marian Ilitch funded the school with a $40 million gift. The new building is part of the Ilitches' broader District Detroit plans to reshape that neighborhood, centered around the new Detroit Red Wings arena. The business school also is designing the building with the business community in mind. Because of the predominance of evening classes, many spaces will be free during the daytime when businesses might be looking for meeting space. This includes an auditorium. "I've talked to automakers, and they're always looking for places to put about 300 people to demo a product," Forsythe said. Two classrooms will have doors big enough to drive cars through.

There will be computer labs and training rooms. A fourth-floor board room will seat up to 40 people for companies looking to hold off-site meetings. There will be a full-service catering kitchen. Business meetings can spill into the two-story atrium or outdoor courtyard, allowing for comingling of students with business professionals. The school has reserved one space, facing Woodward, for pop-up businesses, probably revolving every month and with the help of Tech Town. The four-story, 120,000-square-foot building is slated to open in January 2018. The school is aiming for a ceremonial groundbreaking in early July, with construction beginning in the weeks afterward.

Crain's Detroit Business