And now that Detroit's Historic District Commission has cleared the way for demolishing the Park Avenue Hotel - the project has kicked into high gear.
The $450 million arena with 20,000 seats along with the $200 million entertainment area is expected to open in 2017.
Bulldozers have scooped out enough dirt along Woodward to fill half of Joe Louis Arena at more than 180,000 tons. Detroit's new Red Wings arena and event center site's mass excavation is nearly half complete Thursday.
"It's a transformational time for Detroit, but it all starts with this project," said Tom Wilson of Olympia Entertainment.
The construction continued a day after the historic commission voted in favor of tearing down the vacant Park Avenue hotel. The area is planned to be used as a loading dock for the new arena.
Wilson says the project is moving along quickly with hometown handiwork.
"We've put out about $100 million in contracts so far," he said. "And over 90 percent of those contracts have gone to Detroit-based businesses. It is everything we expected it to be and more."
Although it looks like a big hole right now, you can picture the hockey rink running north and south with three different buildings on the sides.
Where the hotel is, will be a piazza park area and underground loading dock.
While foundation work is set to begin at the end of the month and excavation to be complete next month, Wilson says he's excited to watch the new district Detroit beginning to form.
"When we start getting the steel out here," he said. "Everyone is going to say they can't wait to see what happens.