Olympia Development Names Director to Serve as Liaison to Neighborhood
Advisory Committee for Events Center District
Olympia ready to meet with neighbors to ensure community input on project that
will create 8,300 jobs and $100 million in income for Detroit residents.
DETROIT, Feb. 5, 2014
DETROIT, Feb. 5, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --Olympia Development of Michigan has
appointed Rod Blake, Director of Real Estate and Development, to serve as its
liaison to the Neighborhood Advisory Committee for the proposed events center
district project in downtown Detroit.
"Olympia Development is excited and anxious to begin receiving ideas, thoughts
and input from the Neighborhood Advisory Committee," said Steve Marquardt,
Vice President of Olympia Development. "Rod brings 23 years of experience in
leading public-private partnerships for several real estate and development
projects. His background in public policy and development and expertise in
working with community representatives will make him a valuable asset to the
success of the advisory committee."
"For my entire professional career I have been working closely with
neighborhood and community groups on large public and private development
projects. This is an exciting opportunity to work with the Neighborhood
Advisory Committee on this important project," said Rod Blake, Director of
Real Estate and Development for Olympia Development of Michigan.
The Neighborhood Advisory Committee was established as part of the transfer of
land to the Downtown Development Authority that was approved by the City
council on Tuesday, February 4. The community and Detroit City Council will
select the members of the Neighborhood Advisory Committee. The committee will
provide input to development issues related to the proposed events center
district project. Under the proposed events center district project, an
underutilized area of Detroit's downtown corridor will be redeveloped into a
mixed-use district of residential, retail and office space, anchored by a new
state-of-the-art events center.
The project will provide many benefits to the community. The construction of
the entire events center, residential and commercial mixed-use district will
create approximately 8,300 jobs. The construction of the new events center
alone is anticipated to create approximately 5,500 jobs with more than half of
those construction jobs being filled by Detroit residents and over $100
million being paid to Detroit-resident workers. Thirty percent of all
construction work will be performed by Detroit based businesses. Once opened,
there will be a projected 67 percent increase in the number of jobs at the new
events center than currently exist at the Joe Louis Arena. It is estimated
that the project's economic impact on Detroit, the region and State will be
Mr. Blake, who joined Olympia Development in 2013, has worked on real estate
and development projects for the City of Pontiac and The Taubman Corporation
as well as real estate development and management firms in Chicago.
Rod Blake, Director of Real Estate and Development
Olympia Development of Michigan
Rod Blake joined Olympia Development of Michigan in 2013 to lead the
organization's efforts to identify business and partnership opportunities for
the development of a mixed-use district of residential, retail, entertainment
and office space, anchored by a state of the arts events center.
Rod brings extensive real estate and development experience in both public and
private sectors to identifying business opportunities and bringing together
government, business, and community organizations to create mixed-use
developments that provide high economic and community benefits to
He has extensive experience advising municipal and private equity clients on
financing, acquisition, development, operation, disposition of assets, and
lease negotiations. Major public and private development projects include:
oManaged more than $75 million in state and federal funds for land
acquisition and road improvement projects, including The Community Benefit
Effort Program, for the City of Pontiac and led the redevelopment of
City's golf course to create a 300 unit residential condominium
oManaged several projects for metro Detroit-based Taubman Centers, Inc.
including the development of 1.1 million square foot retail and mixed-use
project, Charlotte, North Carolina and the development of a 700,000 square
foot shopping center in Richmond, VA.
oManaged the development of a 1.2 million square foot open-air center in
Maumee, OH and the development of a 300,000 square foot lifestyle and
power center expansion for Baton Rouge, LA while at Chicago-based General
Rod has developed and presented lectures on creating successful public private
developments for communities at the Wharton School of the University of
Pennsylvania; he has consulted on government relations for the Michigan Motion
Picture Studio project; and coordinated research and prepared recommendations
for the City of Detroit Tax Task Force led by Mayor Dennis Archer.
Rod has a B.A. in Political Science from Yale University in New Haven, CT. He
is a member of several professional organizations including Oakland County
Business Roundtable; Yale Alumni Association of Michigan; Yale Alumni
Schools Committee; International Council of Shopping Centers; and the North
Oakland County Board of Realtors.
History of Ilitch Organization in Detroit
The catalyst development project will be the next major investment in Detroit
made by Mike and Marian Ilitch since they began operating their businesses in
the city 46 years ago. This ongoing commitment has positively influenced
additional development and investment in downtown Detroit, including the
development of Ford Field next to Comerica Park, and the opening of several
theatres, hotels, restaurants, residential developments and other new
Milestones over the 46 years include: Little Caesars opens its first
restaurant inside the City of Detroit in 1967; purchasing the Detroit Red
Wings in 1982 and turning the then-struggling franchise into four-time Stanley
Cup champions and one of the most respected franchises in professional sports;
purchasing and restoring the historic Fox Theatre and adjacent Fox Office
Center in 1987; purchasing the abandoned Hughes and Hatcher clothing store in
1987 and renovating it into what is now the Hockeytown Café and City Theatre;
moving their Little Caesars world headquarters from the suburbs to downtown
Detroit in 1989 during a time when most businesses were leaving the city;
purchasing the Detroit Tigers in 1992 and providing the majority of funding to
build Comerica Park in 2000; and opening MotorCity Casino in 1999 followed by
expansion to include the MotorCity Casino Hotel in 2007. With the completion
of the events center district, the Ilitches investment in downtown Detroit
will reach approximately $1.2 billion in brick-and-mortar projects. Ilitch
companies currently employ over 7,500 colleagues in the city of Detroit, and
annually attract more than 10 million visitors to their downtown venues.
About Olympia Development of Michigan
Olympia Development of Michigan is a Detroit-based full-service real estate
company owned by Detroit entrepreneurs Michael and Marian Ilitch. The company
is responsible for developing and investing in some of Detroit's most
recognized and visited venues, including the nationally acclaimed Comerica
Park. Other Ilitch companies in the food, sports and entertainment industries
include: Little Caesars Pizza, Blue Line Foodservice Distribution, the Detroit
Red Wings, Olympia Entertainment, Little Caesars Pizza Kits Fundraising
Program, Champion Foods, Ilitch Holdings and Uptown Entertainment. Michael
Ilitch owns the Detroit Tigers. Marian Ilitch owns the MotorCity Casino Hotel.
SOURCE Olympia Development of Michigan
Contact: Susan Durgan, 313.471.6874 - Office, Susan.Durgan@OlyDev.com
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