Plans have been published for the new Arena District. Lots of interesting stuff included. Crains Detroit has a series of 6 articles. You can check them out here
Deconstructed design: Most arenas are built as a big box with the playing surface and seating ringed by concourses, concession stands, team offices and restaurants. But the new arena will be “deconstructed” with the outer-ring functions moved into structures just set off or pulled away from the core inner playing surface and seats. They won’t be separate buildings, but linked by a first-ever interior streetscape.
Glass covered streetscape: The area between the seating bowl and the outer buildings will be covered by glass to create a “covered via,” or interior streetscape, filled with trees, retail, dining and other amenities. Bridges and walkways will connect the outer buildings to the seating bowl through this covered interior street.
Lighted roof design: The roof of the arena will be fashioned with the most modern programmable lighting so that different images can be produced for a given event. In the rendering provided by Olympia Development, the roof shows the Red Wings logo as it will on hockey nights. But the roof could be green for St. Patrick’s Day or something else for a concert by Kid Rock or Eminem, Ilitch said. He described the desired effect as “classy, not gaudy.”
Playing surface: The playing surface will be set about 32 feet below ground level to lower the profile of the building, producing a more human-scale environment in the district where most buildings will rise just two to four stories. That follows the practice at Comerica Park and Ford Field, where the playing surfaces were set below ground level.
A DRAMATIC TRANSFORMATION OF THE HEART OF DETROIT will begin in September, when the Ilitch family breaks ground on the construction of a $450 million Detroit Red Wings arena concurrently with another $200 million in apartments, restaurants, office buildings, parks and shops over 45 blocks. This is the city’s entertainment district, super-sized.
This could be huge for Detroit and it seems like the Illitches are really committed to seeing the full plan happen. Chris Illitch even went so far as to commit to spening "10's of millions" beyond what they had already guranteed.