The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Detroit Council Approves Hockey Arena Land Theft

Feb 17, 2014

The Detroit City Council agreed to “sell” 39 parcels of city-owned land for the construction of a new 450 million dollar hockey arena to billionaire Mike Ilitch–for $1.

Under the agreement, the city will sell the land to the Detroit Downtown Development Authority (DDA), which collects property taxes in downtown Detroit, none of which goes into the city budget. The DDA will contribute 261 million dollars from property taxes it collects to pay for almost 60 per cent of the costs to build the arena. The DDA will, in turn, allow the Ilitich-owned Olympia Entertainment to “manage” the entertainment complex for up to 95 years. Olympia will receive ALL of the revenue generated by the arena, including concessions, parking and naming rights.

The only money Olympia will have to pay in the deal is 188 million dollars to the State of Michigan to pay off bonds the State will issue for the initial construction on the property.

The city of Detroit will receive ABSOLUTELY NOTHING in return for handing over the land which it took over through tax liens and doing all of the work to condemn, clear, and prepare it. The City Council cannot even claim any longer that the deal will provide any long-term jobs, since it chose to leave out any requirement for Olympia to hire Detroit residents for those positions.

People living in the city of Detroit will, however, be asked to pay back the costs paid by the city to acquire the land it just handed over and for services the city provides to the arena–all so that the greedy, grasping, vulture billionaire Ilitch can reap the profits from it. It’s criminal!