DMC scraps Sports Medicine Institute plan in uncompleted Ilitch building

The Detroit Medical Center is scrapping its plan to build a Sports Medicine Institute in the Ilitch family’s District Detroit area.

The medical system confirmed in a Tuesday email to Crain’s that it “will not move forward with plans to lease space for a sports medicine institute” in a $70 million building that’s being constructed on Woodward Avenue between Little Caesars Arena and the Wayne State University Mike Ilitch School of Business.

“Our decision allows us to reallocate resources appropriately in this changing environment,” the health system said in a release.

“The last several months have brought about unprecedented change for the health care industry. Stay-at-home orders and restrictions prohibiting elective procedures caused hospitals everywhere to reevaluate their core services,” DMC said.

Ron Staley, senior vice president of Southeast Michigan operations for Lansing-based contractor The Christman Co., one of the joint-venture partners on the project with Detroit-based Brinker Group, said the building’s core and shell still remain on track to be completed by the end of the year.

Grand Rapids-based law firm Warner Norcross + Judd and DMC were the two main tenants set to occupy the 127,000-square-foot building at 2715 Woodward Ave., the site of a former surface parking lot. Boston Consulting Group is also expected to take space in the building.

The sports institute was to serve players from the Ilitch family-owned Detroit Red Wings and Tigers, as well as the public. About 17,000 square feet of ground-floor retail is also expected.

The Ilitch family’s Olympia Development of Michigan real estate company said in a Tuesday afternoon statement that “this change in plans makes available the top two floors of the five-story building.”

“Construction progress continues on the building, which is on track to open next year and be the home of the Detroit offices of Warner, Norcross + Judd and Boston Consulting Group.”

Southfield-based Harley Ellis Devereaux Corp. is the project architect.

The Ilitch family has taken criticism for lack of progress in the 45- to 50-block District Detroit project area, which is anchored by the $862.9 million Little Caesars Arena that received $398.1 million in public financing.

The Detroit Red Wings and Detroit Pistons play there, with the latter recruited from the Palace of Auburn Hills in 2016.

Although the area was unveiled as a sprawling mix of housing, offices, restaurants, bars, parks and other spaces in July 2014, today the District Detroit remains largely a mix of vacant buildings and surface parking lots, although a few new tenants have been recruited, including Google and the Warner Norcross law firm.

A key component of the District Detroit — residential space — has not been delivered, although work is underway on a redevelopment of the Hotel Eddystone north of the arena and recent steps have been taken on the redevelopment of the United Artists Building at 150 Bagley St.

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