We've lost count of how many anti-Ilitch columns Nolan Finley, one of Detroit's leading conservative voices, has penned since it became popular to criticize the sports and pizza family, but here he is again saying what everyone thinks: Don't give the Ilitches tax breaks to redevelop the Hotel Eddystone.
It was revealed last week in development documents that the Ilitches plan to seek subsidies to pull off the $40-million restoration of the century-old, 13-story building. But Finley makes the case that a track record of unkept promises exposed last week in great detail by The News' Louis Aguilar should preclude them from receiving any more help. What's more, he says the city should actively work to wrest property from the Ilitches, who own a third of the land in the arena district, a key link between downtown and Midtown.
Cut them off. Detroit should not give the family another dime of taxpayer money, nor should it approve of their obtaining another piece of land.
Further, attempts should be made to claw back property the city sold or gave to the Ilitches that has not been used for the intended public purpose.
And Detroit should use building codes and tax assessments to make it extremely uncomfortable for the Ilitches to hang on to the many buildings they own that are either vacant or deteriorating.
Though last week the Downtown Development Authority inked a deal with actual teeth for the Eddystone project, Finley argues the DDA's move to allow the Ilitches to tap into a $74 million bonus for $200 million in "spinoff investment" around the arena shows officials haven't yet learned their lesson. "Detroit's leaders keep making excuses for the Ilitches," he writes, "and keep giving them money."
And now here's a nice reminder from journalist and friend-of-the-show Ryan Felton that Finley wasn't always singing this tune:
5 years ago, nolan finley was chastising detroit city council for not approving the ilitches’ hockey rink project fast enough. now, he wants to be the one telling everyone else they should know better. pic.twitter.com/HWzPZvRJqU— Ryan Felton (@ryanfelton) May 29, 2019