First steel erected at new Red Wings arena

3 November 2015

The first piece of structural steel has been put in place that will form a portion of the skeleton of the Detroit Red Wings’ $532.5 million arena.

The piece is a 41-foot, 4-inch I-beam that is part of a $50 million contract awarded earlier this year to Detroit-based Midwest Steel Inc. for more than 9,500 tons of steel, according to a statement Monday from project manager Olympia Development of Michigan.

Midwest Steel also has a contract for structural precast concrete for $7.7 million.

The massive excavation that moved 488,000 cubic yards of soil to create the area of the ice rink and seating bowl 40 feet below street level was completed in August, and hundreds of deep pier foundations were drilled and filled with concrete through September.

The concrete walls for elevator shafts also were erected, and concrete was poured for the foundation walls of the bowl perimeter.

Work on the arena began in September 2014.

The arena is a “deconstructed” design that pulls the glass-roofed concourse, offices and other elements into separate buildings connected — but outside the arena bowl — to make its restaurants and retail available when the venue isn’t being used for hockey or events.

The roof will be LED-lit and can change colors or display images.

The current design shows 20,189 seats, an increase over Joe Louis Arena’s 20,066 seats (second largest in the NHL). It will have 74 suites.

Work on the public-private financed eight-story arena is on schedule and will continue through the winter to ensure the building opens by September 2017, according to Olympia.

Olympia is the real estate arm of Red Wings owner Mike and Marian Ilitch’s $3.3 billion business holdings that include the Red Wings, Detroit Tigers and the Little Caesars pizza chain.

So far, $200 million in contracts have been awarded for the project, according to Detroit’s Downtown Development Authority, which will own the building. Of those, $98.5 million have been publicly announced this year.

Olympia said $136 million in arena contracts have been awarded to Detroit-based or -headquartered companies.

In addition to the Detroit business participation effort, Olympia has also set a goal of hiring at least 51 percent Detroit residents for the arena construction. That target is being met and exceeded with the current workforce comprised of 54 percent Detroiters.

The DDA approves the contracts, on recommendation of ODM and the general contractor, that are more than $500,000.

Southfield-based Barton Malow Co., Detroit-based White Construction and Indianapolis-based Hunt Construction Group are jointly managing construction of the arena.

Detroit-based civil engineering firm Giffels Webster is the design consultant, and the Detroit office of Parsons Brinckerhoff is the traffic engineer.

Ann Arbor-based SmithGroup JJR is handling the landscape design.

White Plains, N.Y.-based Street-Works leads the urban planning and design for the project. It specializes in mixed-use and commercial development, planning and financing.

Also working on the project is Heritage Development Services LLC, a unit of Detroit-based economic development consultant The Diggs Group Inc.