Detroit's downtown revival, led by Dan Gilbert, gains momentum

Detroit has become a five-sport town: The Pistons, Red Wings, Lions and Tigers have been joined by Dan Gilbert’s Bedrock Real Estate Services LLC, the entity that has made a sport out of assembling a downtown Detroit portfolio of commercial buildings. In the process, Gilbert is becoming the city’s biggest advocate. Gilbert isn’t the only force behind Detroit’s downtown revival. Mike Ilitch, the founder and owner of the international fast food franchise Little Caesars Pizza and owner of both the Detroit Red Wings and Detroit Tigers, is the man behind the downtown development and construction of the Detroit Events Center, where the city’s iconic hockey team is set to begin play in the fall of 2017. Ilitch’s group, along with other private developers, has ambitious plans to build a downtown district adjacent to the new Red Wings arena. Planned in phases and partly funded by tax breaks and related public monies, the 50-block district known as The District Detroit calls for mixed-use facilities, retail, restaurants, multifamily and other commercial structures. It will also include a $40 million Wayne State University business school named after Mike Ilitch. The Mike Ilitch School of Business will be built at the southwest corner of Woodward Avenue and Temple Street, with the land donated by the Ilitch family plus a $35 million pledge to build the school, and a $5 million endowment for added goodwill.

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