Detroit council told to expect Cobo expansion plans soon
- Detroit council told to expect Cobo expansion plans soon
Also, leases at center, Joe Louis Arena discussed
September 20, 2007
By ZACHARY GORCHOW
FREE PRESS STAFF WRITER
The director of Cobo Center told the Detroit City Council on Thursday that
he expects to receive a proposal from the Detroit Auto Dealers Association
for a 30,000-square-foot expansion of the convention center soon.
Tom Tuskey told the council's Neighborhood and Community Services Committee
that the association has yet to specify its plans to him.
A message was left with the auto dealers association seeking comment.
City officials also discussed with the council the status of the city's
leases with Olympia Entertainment on Joe Louis Arena, Cobo Arena and the
parking garage that services both. The contract expires July 1, 2010,
meaning Olympia has until July 1, 2009, to issue in writing its intention to
terminate the lease, otherwise the lease is extended for 20 years.
Initially, because the contract was dated in 1978, there was some question
whether Olympia would have to decide this year whether to renew, bringing to
the front burner the question of whether the Ilitch family, which runs
Olympia and owns the Joe's main tenant, the Detroit Red Wings, needed to
decide imminently whether it would keep the team at the Joe.
But a later interpretation by the city's law apartment, the council was
told, indicated under the contract, because the certificate of occupancy was
issued on Joe Louis Arena on July 1, 1980, the lease expires July 1, 2010.
The Red Wings, who at the time were owned by Bruce Norris, began play at the
Joe during the 1979-80 season that already had ended, but had been given a
temporary certificate of occupancy.
Olympia concurs with the city's interpretation of the contract, city
officials told the council.
There has been rampant speculation that the Ilitches are considering
building a new arena on land they own west of the Fox Theater, an area
dominated by vacant lots and abandoned buildings that would be ripe for
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