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Plante Moran Cresa wows Red Wings Alumni with innovative, tradition-inspired Little Caesars Arena design

May 9, 2017 Article 2 min read
Alicia Washeleski Plante Moran Cresa
Plante Moran Cresa describes how the Little Caesars Arena will marry tradition with innovation during a tour with Detroit Red Wing Alumni.

Image of Little Caesars Arena construction during Red Wings Alumni tour 

After the Red Wings’ last game at the Joe Louis Arena, Nick Lidstrom, Manny Legace, Steve Duchesne, and other alumni from the Detroit Red Wings looked to the future with a tour of the new Little Caesars Arena, the heart of The District Detroit development.

During the tour, project managers from Plante Moran Cresa described how the new arena will marry tradition with innovation by capturing elements of the Joe and Olympia Stadium and enhancing them with innovative improvements.

Innovating tradition

Project lead Alicia Washeleski and project manager Chris Becker explained that elements of the façade were made to resemble Olympia Stadium. The bowl design — which is surrounded by seats that go straight up, enclosing the sound into the arena space — was intentionally made to replicate the noise level of the Joe.

Significant benchmarking and a creative development team led to a variety of innovations. In an article about the tour published on, Alicia explained, "There was a lot of benchmarking done in the design of this. They went out to every other NHL stadium, new or old, did interviews of what's good, what's bad, what works well and tried to take the best parts of everything and put it in here."

A few of the features highlighted in the article include:

  • Integration with surrounding stores, restaurants, and other walkable spaces surrounding the arena
  • Extensive fan and player amenities supported by state-of-the-art technology
  • A second ice rink under the plaza with an attached dressing room
  • Unique tension grids and lights over the bowl A greater number of — and improved access to — stairwells, elevators, and restrooms

The Red Wings alumni were amazed by the Little Caesars arena, even joking about joining the league again just to play there.

Approaching the goal

Construction is still ongoing, with the project achieving another milestone at the end of March with the installation of the final truss for the roof of the Via Concourse.

The Via Concourse, the space between the arena and three surrounding office and retail buildings on the south and east side, will have an innovative plastic roof that allows sunlight into the space. Work on the structural steel of outer buildings also wrapped up around the same time.

The arena construction is on schedule to open in September of this year.

As program managers for the Little Caesars Arena construction, our team at Plante Moran Cresa assists with construction program management. In addition, we are helping Olympia Development of Michigan develop and execute a real estate strategy that brings the most unique blend of local and national retailers and office users to The District Detroit.

About The District Detroit

The District Detroit is one of the largest sports and entertainment developments in the country. Located in the heart of Detroit, this 50-block, mixed-use development led by the Ilitch organization unites six world-class theaters, five neighborhoods, and three professional sports venues in one vibrant, walkable destination for people who want to live, work, and play in an exciting urban environment.

Home to the Detroit Tigers, Detroit Red Wings, Detroit Pistons, and Detroit Lions, The District Detroit represents the greatest density of professional sports teams in one downtown core in the country.

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