Tuesday April 21st, 2015

Efforts to build a new 20,000-seat arena for the Detroit Red Wings received a critical boost on Tuesday when the city council approved a number of zoning changes, reports the Detroit Free Press' Matt Helms.

Plans for the arena have seen numerous speed bumps, and Tuesday's decision ultimately came down to some compromises. Part of the proposed development plans includes land currently home to a pair of historic hotels in downtown Detroit. One, the Hotel Park Avenue, is set to be demolished as part of the construction of the new arena. The other, Hotel Eddystone, will be redeveloped as part of what many hope will be a revitalized area surrounding the arena.

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City leaders wanted assurances from team owner Mike Illitch's development company, Olympia Development of Michigan, that plans to redevelop the hotel and the area surrounding the arena would be completed, even if it meant the city needed to obtain a court order. Once Olympia agreed to the stipulation, the process appeared to take steps forward. 

Olympia had been concerned over some early construction delays that were pending this decision from the Detroit City Council. Without further delays or problems arising, the new arena could still be completed on time to open for the 2017 season. The $450 million arena, 58% of which will be paid for via public funding, will sit on 12 acres of land in a part of Detroit known as the Cass Corridor.

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The Red Wings are tied 1–1 with the Tampa Bay Lightning in their opening-round Stanley Cup playoffs series. Detroit will host Game 3 Tuesday at 7 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

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