Olympia Development Gets Extension For District Detroit Project Near MotorCity Casino

Written By Drew Ellis on September 22, 2023
Image of groundbreaking for District Detroit launch, which has been extended

When Olympia Development was given rights to publicly-owned property in downtown Detroit in 2014, hopes were high for a big renovation project for the city. The District Detroit project would see residential, office and retail space developed in the area between Little Caesars Arena and MotorCity Casino.

Little to nothing has developed over the last nine years, but the Downtown Development Authority has given the Ilitch family, owners of Olympia Development, even more time to do something with the land.

District Detroit planning study scheduled for 2024

Olympia Development received the properties in question in 2014 with the intent of giving the area a drastic economic makeover.

Nine years later, the land has been relatively untouched. So, a development timeline needed to be put in place.

Specifically, the DDA gave Olympia Development an extension for the project on Sept. 13.

The deadline now sits at five years from the completion of a planning study that will begin in Q3 of 2024, or seven years from the DDA approval date of Sept. 13 of this year (Sept. 13, 2030). Whichever date comes first will be the deadline.

And, Olympia Development is required to contribute $100,000 to the cost of the planning study.

Bottom line, the planning study will outline a vision and recommended land use strategies to support future development.

“As we continue the development of The District Detroit, we want to ensure we are developing in a way that is most beneficial to Detroiters,” Keith Bradford, president of Olympia and The District Detroit, said in a statement. “We are grateful for the opportunity to partner with the Planning Department and we look forward to working closely with them on a masterplan for these important neighborhoods.”

District Detroit map via Ilitch Companies

MotorCity Casino could benefit from District Detroit

Should The District Detroit project ever get off the ground and truly see some form of completion, it could be an added boost for MotorCity Casino.

Notably, the renovation project would be just outside the border of the Ilitch family-owned retail casino in Detroit. (The casino also partners with FanDuel Michigan Casino to operate a MI online casino.)

The family has owned the casino since 2005. It is located on Grand River Avenue at the Lodge Freeway (M-10) in downtown Detroit.

Specifically, if residential housing, offices, restaurants and hotels are added to the area, it will certainly bring in more local business altogether, as well as more visiting business.

In terms of retail gaming revenue, MotorCity Casino is second in 2023 of the three Detroit casinos. It sits at $258.2 million through eight months of the year.

Yes, that is well behind the MGM Grand Detroit ($400.7 million). But, it is comfortably ahead of Hollywood Casino at Greektown ($194.8 million).

MotorCity Casino’s pre-pandemic revenue in 2019 was close to $500 million. It would welcome any shot in the arm it can get to boost revenue.

While Detroit’s three commercial casinos may not get back to pre-pandemic levels anytime soon, anything that can help boost the Detroit economy is a positive for the casinos as well.

Photo by Carlos Osorio / AP Photo
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Drew Ellis

Drew Ellis is currently the Lead Writer of PlayILottery.com. He was the former Lead Writer of PlayMichigan, the No. 1 source for online gambling news in Michigan. A lifelong resident of the state, Ellis has been working in various forms of media since 1998, including more than a decade in the sports betting industry prior to transitioning into US casino markets in 2020.

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