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RIP Mike Ilitch

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Someone said he merely took advantage of cheap real estate when he could.   Sure he did, he's not stupid, but you know what?  Any number of other wealthy business owners could have done that too but they didn't, they didn't want the risk, Mr. I took the risk and it paid off for him, but others too.   The Fox is beautiful.  

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Disappointed to hear this news. Hate Mr. I wasn't able to celebrate a WS Championship. What a story his life was. RIP Mr. I. You will be missed.

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7 minutes ago, Motor City Sonics said:

Someone said he merely took advantage of cheap real estate when he could.   Sure he did, he's not stupid, but you know what?  Any number of other wealthy business owners could have done that too but they didn't, they didn't want the risk, Mr. I took the risk and it paid off for him, but others too.   The Fox is beautiful.  

Dan Gilbert did the same thing. Ilitch invested in Detroit before it was chic and hip. 

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Just now, Motown Bombers said:

Dan Gilbert did the same thing. Ilitch invested in Detroit before it was chic and hip. 

interesting note in Yooper's link that Gilbert is renting 40k sq feet of space he is currently using at Campus Martius to Microsoft next yr. I wonder if he is planning on putting his people in either the Book or Stot towers. It might make sense for the Book bldg because even with a rehab that bldg might be a hard sell until it proven to be viable. He could do that by using it himself.

You really can't give Ilitch enough credit for what has happened along Woodward. Gilbert is returning an urban landscape that once worked back to what it was. But beyond what Gilbert is doing (at least so far), Ilitch not only had money and spent it, he also had a vision of what could be new where it had never been before..  Mike was the driving force behind the idea of consolidating the sports and entertainment venues around the Fox where there was already some restaurant synergy with Greektown so the whole thing could get off the ground fast enough not to die on the vine. It was/is a far better concept than the repeated failed efforts (and I include Joe Louis ) to build stadia along the river, which is a dumb concept in all ways except maybe for the blimp shots. The siting of COPA is almost perfect in term of access, the city, the regional reach. The siting of new arena anchoring the city redevelopment onto the corner of Wayne State will also be a great synergy long term.

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2 minutes ago, Gehringer_2 said:

interesting note in Yooper's link that Gilbert is renting 40k sq feet of space he is currently using at Campus Martius to Microsoft next yr. I wonder if he is planning on putting his people in either the Book or Stot towers. It might make sense for the Book bldg because even with a rehab that bldg might be a hard sell until it proven to be viable. He could do that by using it himself.

You really can't give Ilitch enough credit for what has happened along Woodward. Gilbert is returning an urban landscape that once worked back to what it was. But beyond what Gilbert is doing (at least so far), Ilitch not only had money and spent it, he also had a vision of what could be new where it had never been before..  Mike was the driving force behind the idea of consolidating the sports and entertainment venues around the Fox where there was already some restaurant synergy with Greektown so the whole thing could get off the ground fast enough not to die on the vine. It was/is a far better concept than the repeated failed efforts (and I include Joe Louis ) to build stadia along the river, which is a dumb concept in all ways except maybe for the blimp shots. The siting of COPA is almost perfect in term of access, the city, the regional reach. The siting of new arena anchoring the city redevelopment onto the corner of Wayne State will also be a great synergy long term.

Quite honestly I don't like the location of Ford Field and Comerica Park but it works for a city like Detroit that had nothing. Go around those stadiums now on a Friday night and it's pretty dead. Detroit had nothing going for it so it works. I would have liked the stadiums built on the fairgrounds and more downtown infill where the stadiums are now but that just wasn't a possibility. 

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7 minutes ago, Motown Bombers said:

Quite honestly I don't like the location of Ford Field and Comerica Park but it works for a city like Detroit that had nothing. Go around those stadiums now on a Friday night and it's pretty dead. Detroit had nothing going for it so it works. I would have liked the stadiums built on the fairgrounds and more downtown infill where the stadiums are now but that just wasn't a possibility. 

the east side of the development is a problem, but I still don't think there was any better place given the existing road net. The fairgrounds is too far away to produce any benefit to downtown.

I think the long term the answer for development on the backside and Ford Field to is to take out 375 (Congress just agreed with that idea AAMOF). A big N/S boulevard parallel to Woodward on the other side of the Stadia would instantly become a prime redevelopment target.

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1 minute ago, Gehringer_2 said:

interesting note in Yooper's link that Gilbert is renting 40k sq feet of space he is currently using at Campus Martius to Microsoft next yr. I wonder if he is planning on putting his people in either the Book or Stot towers. It might make sense for the Book bldg because even with a rehab that bldg might be a hard sell until it proven to be viable. He could do that by using it himself.

You really can't give Ilitch enough credit for what has happened along Woodward. Gilbert is returning an urban landscape that once worked back to what it was. But beyond what Gilbert is doing (at least so far), Ilitch not only had money and spent it, he also had a vision of what could be new where it had never been before..  Mike was the driving force behind the idea of consolidating the sports and entertainment venues around the Fox where there was already some restaurant synergy with Greektown so the whole thing could get off the ground fast enough not to die on the vine. It was/is a far better concept than the repeated failed efforts (and I include Joe Louis ) to build stadia along the river, which is a dumb concept in all ways except maybe for the blimp shots. The siting of COPA is almost perfect in term of access, the city, the regional reach. The siting of new arena anchoring the city redevelopment onto the corner of Wayne State will also be a great synergy long term.

Agree completely. 

I will add that his charitable efforts were countless. From building minor hockey to Ilitch charities to feeding the poor through the LC kitchens to the business school. It is a remarkable legacy of philanthropy. He never left and he invested and helped others here. That type of commitment isn't common.  

As for the stadium locations and the activity around them, I think that will pick up as the District is built out. With the pistons downtown now too, it's just going to snowball in terms of activity.

On another note, nice story here about Jiri Fischer's experience with Mr. I. 

http://www.mlive.com/redwings/index.ssf/2017/02/jiri_fischer_appreciative_of_w.html#incart_river_index

 

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Just now, Gehringer_2 said:

the east side is a problem, but I still don't think there was any better place given the existing road net. The fairgrounds it too far away to produce any benefit to downtown.

I think long term the answer for development on the backside and Ford Field to is to take out 375 (Congress just agreed with that idea AAMOF)

That's what I'm saying. Detroit needed something to benefit downtown. Ideally, you wouldn't want to have two large stadiums taking up that much of a footprint downtown, especially Ford Field which maybe hosts a dozen events a year. Stadiums at the fairgrounds would have been likely been more of a boost to Ferndale and Hazel Park than Detroit. Somewhat off topic but if Detroit won their bid for the Olympic games in 68, plans were for a stadium at the fairgrounds. At the very least the Lions would have moved in and possibly the Tigers since multi use stadiums were all the rage back then. It's interesting to think back how those games could have changed the city. I can probably say for certain the Silverdome is never built. 

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Accomplished businessman...philanthropist...loving husband and father...devoted to the community that he made his home.  Mike Ilitch lived a heck of a life

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51 minutes ago, Motor City Sonics said:

Someone said he merely took advantage of cheap real estate when he could.   Sure he did, he's not stupid, but you know what?  Any number of other wealthy business owners could have done that too but they didn't, they didn't want the risk, Mr. I took the risk and it paid off for him, but others too.   The Fox is beautiful.  

yessir - it's called buy low and let your kids sell high       ;-)

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17 minutes ago, Gehringer_2 said:

the east side of the development is a problem, but I still don't think there was any better place given the existing road net. The fairgrounds is too far away to produce any benefit to downtown.

I think the long term the answer for development on the backside and Ford Field to is to take out 375 (Congress just agreed with that idea AAMOF). A big N/S boulevard parallel to Woodward on the other side of the Stadia would instantly become a prime redevelopment target.

 

Could do a Big Dig ala Boston ?

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6 minutes ago, DaYooperASBDT said:

 

Could do a Big Dig ala Boston ?

That's what I would like to see. 375 is already below grade so I wonder how more it would cost vs bringing 375 to grade level?

I would also propose removing the Lodge from 75 down to Cobo Hall and making that a surface street to connect Corktown and Downtown. That would make accessing Cobo Hall tricky though. 

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We won't experience another owner like Mr. Ilitch in our lifetimes, nor will we truly understand his greatness for years.  RIP.

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We can learn a lot from Mr. Ilitich's life story. He was the son of Macedonian immigrants. As a first generation American, he was able to be educated, play professional baseball, served in the military, and started his own business. Without knowing anything else you might say that is the American Dream. But then he ends up becoming wealthy, purchasing two sports franchises, and having many years of success in both ventures, as well as other business successes along the way. There are things about him one could criticize. You might argue that he neglected his baseball franchise for many years in favor of his hockey franchise. You could also argue that he didn't do a very good job of running his baseball team, even once he received a publicly funded baseball stadium and decided to actually spend money on his baseball team. He was also known for getting a lot of tax breaks, not paying back taxes that he owed, and being able to purchase property for a fraction of its value. He probably deserved some of those criticisms. But he also deserves a lot of credit for sticking with the teams, sticking with the city, and maintaining a sense of loyalty and commitment that many businessmen do not have. As someone who grew up during the Ilitich era, it is difficult not to admire and respect him despite his flaws and complexities. We are all human. Thank you Mr. Ilitch for the years of memories.

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2 hours ago, DaYooperASBDT said:

 

Could do a Big Dig ala Boston ?

It would be the Big FIll.

I suppose if anyone remembered where they put all the dirt they took out 60 yrs ago they could just go get it and bring it back.........

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The day Mr. I bought the team, I had tix to that night's game at Tiger Stadium.  I still remember the electricity in the crowd, that a new era had begun.  I love the passion he brought, & I am hopeful it will continue in the years to come .. either under his children or a new owner.

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9 hours ago, MotownRandy said:

We can learn a lot from Mr. Ilitich's life story. He was the son of Macedonian immigrants. As a first generation American, he was able to be educated, play professional baseball, served in the military, and started his own business. Without knowing anything else you might say that is the American Dream. But then he ends up becoming wealthy, purchasing two sports franchises, and having many years of success in both ventures, as well as other business successes along the way. There are things about him one could criticize. You might argue that he neglected his baseball franchise for many years in favor of his hockey franchise. You could also argue that he didn't do a very good job of running his baseball team, even once he received a publicly funded baseball stadium and decided to actually spend money on his baseball team. He was also known for getting a lot of tax breaks, not paying back taxes that he owed, and being able to purchase property for a fraction of its value. He probably deserved some of those criticisms. But he also deserves a lot of credit for sticking with the teams, sticking with the city, and maintaining a sense of loyalty and commitment that many businessmen do not have. As someone who grew up during the Ilitich era, it is difficult not to admire and respect him despite his flaws and complexities. We are all human. Thank you Mr. Ilitch for the years of memories.

Let's be clear on the financing of Comerica Park. Only 38% was publicly financed through a hotel and car rental tax that was voted on and approved by the citizens of Detroit. The park is also owned by the public and leased to Ilitch. 

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Mlb radio is treating this with appropriate decorum. Like a state funeral for a beloved leader


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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13 hours ago, RandyMarsh said:

Gotta wonder if the family knew this was coming and informed Avila about it.  Because all offseason Avila was pretty careful with his choice of words, he kept re-iterating that ownership didn't tell him to cut payroll or set any limit where it should be, yet he operated like there was one. 

Well, he was 87 years old and hadn't looked/sounded too well in the rare recent instances when he was in the public eye.

I was trying to reroll Avila's commentary regarding payroll in my mind last night.  Did Avila mention Mike specifically or was it just a generic "ownership"?

We've possibly got interesting times ahead of us.

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I think we were lucky that a man like Gores...a billionaire with strong local ties..stepped up to buy the Pistons.  With all four teams downtown thanks to the arena project and the QRail linking downtown and the people mover all the way to New Center and the automakers coming back into SE MI with $$$ and jobs...there's a lot of reasons to be optimistic about the future of Detroit.  IIRC..Detroit is the only city to ever reach 1 million people and then fall below that number.  We have the resources...fix the Detroit Public schools and you could see a tremendous renaissance in the city

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