Redevelopment of the long-vacant Eddystone Hotel on Sproat Street and Park Avenue, in the shadow of Little Caesars Arena, was supposed to be well underway. But the Ilitch organization failed to meet deadlines and the structure has become a potential symbol of empty promises of developing the surrounding neighborhood grandly named "District Detroit."
There's some indication of hope, but also some reason to worry. An agreement signed in spring between the city and Olympia Development of Michigan, part of the Ilitch empire, guarantees the Eddystone Hotel will be redeveloped.
But some argue the project lag that prompted the new deal is a foreshadowing of what might never come, writes Christine Ferretti of The Detroit News:
The hotel is part of a 50-block entertainment district, dubbed District Detroit, that was expected to transform the area surrounding the new hockey venue by 2017. Deadlines outlined in a master agreement came and went, and little has materialized.
"It's over a year behind schedule, and they opened the arena ahead of schedule. It underscores where their priorities lie in terms of rebuilding a neighborhood that was supposed to be part of District Detroit," said Francis Grunow, chairman of the Neighborhood Advisory Committee established for the arena project.
"Eddystone, in my mind, is an example for the rest of the district. If we can't get started with a building like the Eddystone, what hope do we have for the rest of the district?"