The city of Detroit has until May 1 to begin demolition on Joe Louis Arena, the Detroit Free Press announces. Joe Louis Arena was built by the city in 1979 for $34 million. The arena served as the home to the NHL’s Detroit Red Wings and host to more than 600 concerts and events until its closure on July 30, 2017.
The timetable for the start of the demolition was laid out as part of an agreement between the city and a former bondsholder, the New York-based Financial Guaranty Insurance Co., who received rights to the land for accepting losses during Detroit’s municipal bankruptcy in 2013-‘14.
The agreement stipulates that the demolition process is to begin within 90 days of the end of the lease between the city of Detroit and the Red Wings and Olympia Entertainment. Olympia Entertainment is the company that operated the arena. The lease was expected to end by September 2017, but didn’t expire until Jan. 31 because Olympia exercised several extensions.
Work crews have already begun removing material from the building to prepare for the demolition. The city will have a year to complete the project.
According to city spokesman John Roach, city officials will begin preliminary work such as environmental surveys in the coming months, but the actual "mobilization for the knock-down phase" won’t begin before May. Currently, there is no plan in place for exactly when or how the arena will be demolished; however, Roach says that implosion has not been ruled out.
The demolition will clear the land to make way for a new hotel on the five-acre site. However, there are no official proposals for the hotel’s development currently.