The image of the Ilitch organization has for many decades been a good one. But that goodness seems to be fading, even for a conservative, business-oriented editorial page like The Detroit News.
In a Sunday editorial, it blasts the Ilitch organization:
The arrogance of the Ilitch organization in ignoring its obligations to the city of Detroit is breathtaking.
The family that owns the Detroit Red Wings and Tigers, Olympia Development and Little Caesars pizza continues to renege on the promises it has made to develop downtown property that the city helped it obtain.
Taxpayers, who contributed $344 million to help the Ilitches build the new Little Caesars Arena, expected to see neighborhoods rising around the sports and entertainment facility. The family promised housing, offices and restaurants as part of a 50-block project called The District Detroit.
Instead, the Ilitches have delivered mostly parking lots, without saying when, if ever, they intend to build on their vast and vacant downtown land holdings.
The editorial goes on to say that Ilitch group missed a June 28 deadline for revealing its plans for a prime piece of real estate on Woodward next to the arena, which had been used as a staging area for materials and equipment during the LCA construction.
The paper concludes:
The ongoing negligence of its obligations by the Ilitch organization has to come to an end. Detroit is moving rapidly forward with its redevelopment. The Ilitches should either come aboard or step aside. And the city should stop excusing their foot-dragging.