It’s Unofficially Official, Wings Have a New Arena Coming

Well, folks, it looks like The Joe’s days are officially numbered.  Per SportsBusinessDaily, the Wings have hired an architect to start plans on the Wings new home:

The Detroit Red Wings have selected an architect to design a new NHL arena in downtown Detroit, a sign the team is moving ahead with the project.

HKS, co-designer of American Airlines Center, will team with Chan Krieger NBBJ, a Boston architect specializing in urban developments, according to three industry sources. . . .

Karen Cullen, a corporate spokeswoman for the Red Wings, said there was nothing new to report, adding “our organization has been on record saying we’d like to have a new arena in downtown Detroit.”

Pretty interesting stuff.  More facts after the break:

I think more interesting is the fact that the new arena will likely be smaller:

The Red Wings intend to develop a new 18,000-seat facility to replace outdated Joe Louis Arena, sources said.

Now, with the current state of the economy, I understand why they want to slightly reduce the size of the arena from the monstrous 20,000 that is the Joe, but down to 18,000 seems a bit low.  Detroit has had something like 71 consecutive sellouts even with the economy the way it is and I worry that the cheap seats available to students, etc. might go away with this change.  I personally think around 19,000 makes a little more sense.

Anyways, here’s another interesting tidbit:

The responsibility of architect Alex Krieger, founding principal of Chan Krieger NBBJ and a Harvard professor of urban design, is to develop an entertainment district tied to a new arena in Detroit, similar to Nationwide Arena in Columbus and Staples Center in Los Angeles, sources said.

I live in Columbus right now and if they do anything in Detroit like they did here in the Arena District, that’s a great thing for the city.  The Arena District in Columbus almost single handedly turned around the downtown area from a former, ominous prison, to a hip, place where young people go to hangout.  I think with the multitude of teams in downtown Detroit, this can be only expanded on.   Great thing.

Still, I’m sad to see the Joe unofficially go.   The Joe is dead!  Long live the Joe!