Joe Louis Arena’s Final Days Are Numbered
It's only a matter of time now. By May of this year, The City of Detroit must begin demolition work for the now-vacant Joe Louis Arena in order to prepare the area for a new hotel that's expected to reshape the entire Downtown Detroit Riverfront area.
The time frame was set in stone in a 3-year agreement between the city of Detroit and a former bondholder which indicates that the city now has until May 1 to get demolition underway or at least begin preparing for the demolition. Detroit city which built and still owns JLA is required to begin the demolition process within 90 days of the expiration of the arena's lease with the Red Wings and the Ilitch family's Olympia Entertainment.
Because Olympia exercised options for time extensions within the agreement, the contract which should have ended in September didn't come to an end until last Wednesday. One demolition begins, workers will have a year to complete the full tear down. No confirmation has been made yet on the manner in which the arena will come down.
Joe Louis Arena was host to the Detroit Red Wings after they left the old Olympia Stadium in 1978. The arena was actually built to keep the Red Wings, which were owned by the Norris family at the time, from leaving Detroit for Oakland County.