Olympia Development of Michigan today announced plans for a sweeping transformation of dozens of underutilized blocks between downtown and midtown Detroit into a sports and entertainment district.

Detroit's Joe Louis Arena, the 20,058-seat home of the 11-time Stanley Cup Champion Detroit Red Wings, is Detroit’s largest indoor venue. (Photo: Leon Halip/Getty Images)

The project will connect existing and new development efforts in downtown and midtown Detroit along Woodward Avenue with five walkable, livable mixed-use district neighborhoods, and includes an arena to replace Joe Louis Arena.

The new, mixed-use development is being coupled with new arena's construction, officials said. The development project is estimated at $650 million, according to Ilitch Holdings, Inc., which owns Olympia Development of Michigan.

"It's always been my dream to see a vibrant and energized downtown Detroit," said Mike Ilitch, chairman ofIlitch Holdings, Inc. "I want people to look at Detroit's new sports and entertainment district and see what I see: the potential for something very special. I couldn't be more excited and proud to bring this vision to life."

Olympia Development of Michigan is proposing redevelopment for what would be known as Cass Park Village neighborhood in Detroit. (Ilitch Holdings, Inc./PR NewsFoto)

The district will encompass dozens of blocks along and near Woodward Avenue. Development in the district will be integrated with existing sports and entertainment venues in or adjacent to the space, including the Fox Theatre, Comerica Park, MotorCity Casino Hotel, Ford Field, Detroit Opera House and The Fillmore. Olympia Development of Michigan is owned by Illitch Holdings.

"We've done business in Detroit for nearly 50 years, and this is our most significant and ambitious project here yet," said Christopher Ilitch, president and CEO of Ilitch Holdings, Inc. "Our great city is home to some of the world's most legendary people, teams and venues in sports and entertainment.

"Detroit deserves no less than the best – a world-class sports and entertainment district we can all be proud of. And that's exactly what we will build."

Home of the 11-time NHL Stanley Cup champion Detroit Red Wings, the 20,058-seat Joe Louis Arena is located on the banks of the Detroit River and is Detroit’s largest indoor venue. It hosts attractions, including professional sports, college hockey, concerts, ice shows, circuses and more.

The neighborhoods, inspired by historical roots, beloved places or geographical highlights, include:

  • Columbia Street – Near the Fox Theatre and The Fillmore, it is to offer entertainment and dining.
  • Wildcat Corner – Anchored by Comerica Park and Ford Field, it is to offer energetic and athletic experiences.
  • The neighborhood where the new Detroit arena is to be located.
  • Cass Park Village – An energized, eclectic and primarily residential neighborhood.
  • Columbia Park – A fresh, modern neighborhood anchored by a new public green space.

The building of the new district is anticipated to create about 5,500 jobs for the construction of the events center and about 8,300 jobs for the construction of the residential and commercial mixed‐use district. It is estimated that this project will have a $1.8 billion economic impact on the city, region and Michigan.