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Detroit City Council approves 2 measures for new Red Wings arena, entertainment complex

DETROIT - The Detroit City Council on Friday approved two measures tied to the development of a new Red Wings hockey arena and entertainment complex just north of downtown.

The boundaries of the Downtown Development Authority district were expanded to include land where the project could be constructed. A tax financing plan also was green-lighted.

However, the six-member board postponed a vote on the transfer of city-owned land for the project until February.

"Those are very important issues that just don't get approved easily, expanding a DDA district and also the tax increment financing plan and things of this nature," said George Jackson, Detroit Economic Growth Corp. executive director.

Jackson said all sides would move forward to resolve the land transfer issue.

Council members want to make sure Detroit residents will have the opportunity to work on jobs created by the project.

"We all want this to happen. It's our job to make sure Detroiters are a part of that," said Council President Saunteel Jenkins.

Detroit Tigers and Red Wings owner Mike Ilitch has long said he wanted a replacement for the Wings' Joe Louis Arena. Plans for the new arena and entertainment district were announced earlier this year. The arena would take up eight blocks of the 45-block district.

Under the plan, the city's Downtown Development Authority would own the arena and event centre complex, while Olympia Development would have exclusive rights to use, manage and operate it, and hold naming rights.

The Michigan Strategic Fund would issue $450 million in bonds to build the events centre, which would include the 18,000-seat hockey arena. The money would be paid back with public and private funds. No new tax money will be used from Detroit, which on Dec. 3 became the largest U.S. city to file for bankruptcy.

The Red Wings would move from 32-year-old Joe Louis Arena to the new facility. The state has said it would pay for the demolition of Joe Louis Arena along the Detroit riverfront.

The Downtown Development Authority last week approved a management deal with Olympia Development, which is owned by the Ilitch family.

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