$1.5B District Detroit project gets community benefits approval

The massive build-out of District Detroit in midtown that comes with multiple new and refurbished structures for apartments and retail got the green light during its final community benefits meeting Tuesday.

The nine-person volunteer group called the Neighborhood Advisory Council negotiated with both Ilitch-owned Olympia Development and Related Cos, which is owned by Stephen Ross. 

It was approved 8-1, though some discontent could be heard among the guests at the meeting about approving the package - which isn't uncommon for these meetings. It includes $12 million in contributions from the developers and more than $100 million in targeted spending. 

It approved a package of benefits that included millions for the city's apprenticeship training program, hiring minority businesses for consulting on the project, and funding for business tenants that move into District Detroit locations. 

Both firms overseeing the project are requesting nearly $800 million in tax breaks. The $1.5 billion project includes 10 total buildings - six new structures and four rehabbed buildings - for apartments and business space. There would also be a hotel next to Little Caesars Arena. 

Some of the new apartments would be designated affordable.  

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The city council still needs to take up the deal before it gets final approval from Detroit.