The Ilitch organization isn't holding on to empty lots and blighted buildings only in the Midtown area, The Detroit News reports. It's doing the same thing around its MotorCity Casino footprint on Grand River, to the west.
Louis Aguilar looked at property records around the casino and found 44 empty lots and eight empty buildings owned by Ilitch-connected entities there.
The dormant properties create a dead zone around the casino and hotel owned by Marian Ilitch, matriarch of the Ilitch family empire that includes the Little Caesars pizza chain, the Detroit Tigers and Red Wings, and plenty of Detroit land.
The analysis comes as the Ilitches are looking for city approval to build another parking structure serving the casino.
The Ilitch family's history of buying up properties — and then not following through with development plans — is sparking pushback by some Detroit residents as the company seeks to build a 700-space, seven-story parking garage next to the MotorCity Casino complex at 2901 Grand River. The proposed parking structure would stand taller than the casino portion of the property and would replace an existing surface parking lot.
Aguilar found that the family's various business arms own 72 properties around the casino complex, fewer than a quarter of them occupied.