The Michigan House passed a bill on Thursday that approves a $650 million downtown development project anchored by a new arena that would host the Detroit Red Wings. The development project, backed by Red Wings owner Mike Ilitch, includes retail and housing in addition to the arena space. The state senate has already passed the bill, and it is headed to Governor Rick Snyder's desk for final approval.
The bill also would allow the Detroit Downtown Development Authority to collect more money for infrastructure improvements that will be required for the project. However, opponents of the bill are concerned that this will simply rob the Detroit school system, which is funded in part by the Downtown Development Authority. The expected cost for the improvements is $12 million.
The Red Wings' current home, Joe Louis Arena, was built in 1979 for only $57 million. It's unclear whether this new arena would also be the new home of the Detroit Pistons, who currently play at the Palace of Auburn Hills.