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jsmyers

New Arena

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All of this discussion and news about NW downtown has got me thinking.

I remember that Allan has discussed tentative plans to put a new arena in the area bound by:

N: Montcalm

S: Elizabeth

E: Park

W: Cass

(Please correct me if I'm wrong.)

This idea would cut 2 blocks of Columbia and 2 blocks of Clifford St out. I think Detroit has to do everything in its power to preserve the street grid. I also think that there will be opportunities in areas to extend the network in the future.

(A quick skim of Death and Life of Great American Cities by Jane Jacobs will fully explain why I think this.)

Now obviously a New Arena in the area is of great benefit, and some amount of streets will have to be vacated in order to get it to fit. Other locations for the arena (by the Motor City, old MGM site, current JLA site, fronting GR across from the DTE campus) have pros and cons, but let

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Actually, I like your plan. I've thought about something like that before, but never really did any research and calculations to see if it was even possible to fit an arena in the 2-block area as opposed to the 4-block area. Your plan provides space for the new arena, while making minimal impact on the existing street grid. It'll be a tight fit, but they can make it work. One of things that has always bothered me about Comerica Park is the closure of John R. It would be nice if they could avoid closing Clifford in the same sort of scenario.

I've long felt that Park Avenue needs to be reconnected with a bridge over the freeway. I think that it will become even more important in the next 5-10 years, as the revitalization of the Cass Corridor pushes further south. The residents of whatever is built in that massive open tract of land at Woodward & I-75 will want Park to cross over I-75 so that they can get to what could become a premiere entertainment district.

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I've long felt that Park Avenue needs to be reconnected with a bridge over the freeway. I think that it will become even more important in the next 5-10 years, as the revitalization of the Cass Corridor pushes further south. The residents of whatever is built in that massive open tract of land at Woodward & I-75 will want Park to cross over I-75 so that they can get to what could become a premiere entertainment district.

I couldn't agree more.

BTW - I encourage everybody to borrow or buy a copy of Jane Jacob's book. It is an easy read, and in my experiences, her ideas can be validated by looking around us.

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I still prefer the idea of building off of GR it'd be easier you don't have worry about building around occupied buildings, it'd enliven an otherwise empty GR streetscape and better traffic control. If it can fit those 2 blocks I don't why it couldn't fit between GR, Columbia, Cass and Elizabeth even then you could still build north of Columbia if needed

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Moose Lodge is set to be renovated though. Or at least it was as of a couple months ago. Maybe they could move it across the street....

The Ilitches do own some property on that block. If I remember correctly, they own the Chin Tiki parking lot, as well as one of the lots fronting on Grand River.

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I couldn't agree more.

BTW - I encourage everybody to borrow or buy a copy of Jane Jacob's book. It is an easy read, and in my experiences, her ideas can be validated by looking around us.

What would the title of Jane Jacob's book be? I'd like to try and find it.

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I still prefer the idea of building off of GR it'd be easier you don't have worry about building around occupied buildings, it'd enliven an otherwise empty GR streetscape and better traffic control. If it can fit those 2 blocks I don't why it couldn't fit between GR, Columbia, Cass and Elizabeth even then you could still build north of Columbia if needed

I've often thought that too.

For my previous post, I was assuming it would go on park, regardless what might be best.

But a few reasons it might not be best there:

Without taking a street out (Columbia or Elizabeth) it might not be big enough in one dimension, even if there is enough area.

It is not walkable to the People mover from there. Wings fans are some of the most loyal people mover riders there are. (For good reason, it is the only easy way to get to JLA on foot.)

It is further away from the other stadia. The advantage of colocation are great. For the most part, the 3 teams do not have games that overlap. One parking space (even for a pretty lazy fan) can be used for at least two of the teams.

If it can fit in a lively and urban fashion on Park Ave, then everything between GCP and the freeway, Woodward to Park, will be ripe for development. If it goes a little further west, what would be the spin off?

It would also enhance the case for developing the woodward lots in front of the baseball stadium.

Now considering the Ilitch's business:

If you put it further west, you are further away the other businesses in your portfolio (the Elwood, Fox, HOCKEY TOWN, etc).

It is not close enough to the Motor City Casino in either case to really make a difference.

But it might be close enough at the west site to help the competing MGM casino.

But Detroitfan, I agree 100% that the block you are refering to is a good location for a larger-footprint use. Lets hope that the next one that comes around finds its way there, instead of tearing out a bunch of streets elsewhere.

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Without taking a street out (Columbia or Elizabeth) it might not be big enough in one dimension, even if there is enough area.

Well taking out either of the streets wouldn't be a major loss

is not walkable to the People mover from there. Wings fans are some of the most loyal people mover riders there are. (For good reason, it is the only easy way to get to JLA on foot.)

It's 5 blocks people park in that area going to Comerica or Ford Field all the time and those walks are longer. For the Wings it might be a big change, but they'll get use it

If it can fit in a lively and urban fashion on Park Ave, then everything between GCP and the freeway, Woodward to Park, will be ripe for development. If it goes a little further west, what would be the spin off?

If you put it further west, you are further away the other businesses in your portfolio (the Elwood, Fox, HOCKEY TOWN, etc).

It'd still be ripe the streets behind it would perfect new low-mid rise mixed use buildings you'd create an entire new neighborhood with the Fox/ Hockytown anchoring at one and the arena at the the other. Secondly it's only three blocks from Woodward to Cass and Ilitch owns many of those lots he'd just expand his empire to the west.

But it might be close enough at the west site to help the competing MGM casino

The spinoff work both ways if you create some urban and exciting maybe they won't spend all their money at MGM

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Hockey mostly. But everything that Olympia does in JLA.

JLA is owned by the city with a long-term lease on it. It doesn't meet all of their needs and wants. It also might be the site of Cobo expansion.

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They would have to knock down both, anyway, for future expansions. There isn't much else you can do to expand Cobo but knock down those two.

It seems to be becoming more clear by the month that the JLA's days are numbered.

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JLA should go as well as Cobo Arena. I would like to see a hotel as well as conference space replace Cobo Arena right along the river there. This could be an additional draw to getting more conventions.

Now, what if the new JLA was to go where the Donovan and Sanders buildings are currently standing? Any objections to that? I think if they were to put it there it would work if and only if, the new arena accounted for Woodward with maybe some office/retail. Plus it takes up some undesirable land right along the expressway. If the Illitchs were to buy that property they could work with Berry Gordy about moving his Motown Museum to one of their properties. I think it would be very cool to have the Motown Museum in one of those empty lots fronting Woodward next to Comerica Park in a mixed use development. Or a mixed use development on the M-L site incorporating the museum. Just some thoughts on what could be an interesting solution to the Arena problem. What do you think?

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I completely agree with putting at at the northwest corner of Woodward and the Fisher. You don't have to worry about an awkward site or knocking down any more buildings. This saves th northwestern corner of downtown for urban infill. Now, if the city is wishing to create an entertainment district that spans one corner of north downtown to the other (Ford Field to MGM Grand), than the arena in Foxtown/Park Avenue makes sense. But, I guess either of these sites are worthwhile. Can someone try to measure this site in an aerial and show the outline needed at the Fisher and Woodward?

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It would be nice to see a large parking structure accompanying the arena if it was to go there. That way future developments in Park Avenue/Stadium-Theater district may not be hinged so much on parking. Plus I think it would make the Illitchs even more willing to pursue something on the Comerica lots as well as the Madison-Lenox site.

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Yes, the Ilitches need to look hard at consolidating their parking. But, I have a feeling that they don't want the parking so much for the money, but to control key pieces of land so that they can call the shots.

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It's 5 blocks people park in that area going to Comerica or Ford Field all the time and those walks are longer. For the Wings it might be a big change, but they'll get use it

I'm not exactly sure what you mean, but I'm not talking only about distance, but rather the life along the route. You have a number of dead blocks out to GR.

It'd still be ripe the streets behind it would perfect new low-mid rise mixed use buildings you'd create an entire new neighborhood with the Fox/ Hockytown anchoring at one and the arena at the the other. Secondly it's only three blocks from Woodward to Cass and Ilitch owns many of those lots he'd just expand his empire to the west.

The spinoff work both ways if you create some urban and exciting maybe they won't spend all their money at MGM

There is too much land in there to completely fill it in with something exciting in any real time frame.

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The Woodward to Park area north of 75 is another idea. It could fit in either 2 blocks (tight) or 3 (spacious).

I would say that if you built a connection over 75 for Park Ave, then it is a great idea. Otherwise, you have one corner of the arena walkable to downtown, and that would be at Woodward.

Another idea along with that would be to cap a piece of 75 with parking deck in order to have storfronts on Woodard and/or Park.

My only conern with the idea is that it spreads out further. I think downtown will benefit most from keeping as concentrated as possible, while respecting the edge and the need for future growth and current connections.

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