DMC in talks to build new sports medicine facility for Tigers, Red Wings


  • New sports medicine facility would be between arena, Ilitch School of Business
  • Talks include center that would serve pro athletes and general public
  • Planning for facility has been ‘on and off’ for five years, source says


The Detroit Medical Center is in negotiations to build a sports medicine facility jointly for the Detroit Red Wings and Detroit Tigers sandwiched between the new Little Caesars Arena to the south and the under-construction Wayne State University Mike Ilitch School of Business to the north, Crain’s has learned.

Two sources with knowledge of the discussions who requested anonymity said the facility would also serve the general public, not just the teams; one of them said planning for the facility has been “off and on” for the past five years, with discussions becoming more serious in the past year.

Another source familiar with the discussions said the project’s size and cost have not yet been determined, but construction could begin in the first quarter next year if a deal is sealed. A fourth source said plans at some point in the past year were for a five-story building offset from Woodward Avenue.

An official for DMC and Olympia Development of Michigan said they would not comment at this time.

A DMC source said the hospital system has been interested in developing a high-profile, one-stop-shop sports medicine center to serve professional athletes and the public. It would be a model for other DMC medical specialty lines that the health system wants to develop in the future.

Little Caesars Arena anchors the District Detroit, 50 blocks of redevelopment mixed-use projects led by the Ilitch family, which owns the Red Wings and Tigers. The arena opened last month for the Red Wings and the Detroit Pistons, who are owned by Tom Gores and who moved downtown this season from the Palace of Auburn Hills. Plans are to build out the 50-block area between downtown and Midtown with billions of dollars in office, retail, residential and entertainment space. The arena and buildings and parking garages adjacent to it cost $863 million in public and private funding.

Separately, the Pistons are building a new team practice and medical facility north of the arena in the TechTown area. The 100,000-square-foot development, which will also include the team’s corporate offices, was announced in February. It will be managed by Detroit-based Henry Ford Health System. The Pistons previously used the DMC as team doctors until switching to Henry Ford this year.

The $59 million WSU business school, funded in large part by a $40 million donation from the Ilitch family patriarch who died in February, is expected to open next year. Dean Robert Forsythe said Tuesday that classes are expected to begin there for the spring/summer semester.

Crain’s senior reporter Jay Greene contributed to this report.

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