More than three months after the glitzy groundbreaking ceremony for the new Red Wing arena, crews have yet to actually break ground.
In fact, the 13-acre site is empty after Olympia Development recently removed the fencing, lighting and big red shipping containers that were stacked to resemble the arena.
All that’s left are small piles of garbage and a mound of dirt where Gov. Rick Snyder, Christopher Ilitch, Mayor Duggan and Council President Pro Tem George Cushingberry Jr. posed for pictures with shovels and hard hats. Snyder was facing re-election in just five weeks.
At the time, Olympia Development, which is in charge of the project, said work on the site would continue throughout the winter, and steel construction would begin in the spring of 2015. The only work has been outside the arena site, including the removal of graffiti from the abandoned Hotel Park Avenue and Eddystone Hotel.
It’s unclear whether the lack of work is related to Olympia’s decision in November to pull its zoning request to begin heavy construction after Detroit City Council wanted to ensure that the Hotel Park Avenue was preserved.
Olympia Development hasn’t returned our calls or e-mails for comment since Friday morning.
Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.