Amid criticism, District Detroit breaks ground on DMC sports medicine center

Image 1 of 3

A big announcement from the Detroit Medical Center came Thursday of bringing more construction jobs to the city.

The DMC broke ground on a new sports medicine facility -- next to Little Caesars Arena to provide medical, law office and retail space - five stories tall.

It is soon to house a state of the art Detroit Medical Center Sports Medicine Institute.

"It's going to bring both construction and permanent jobs to Detroit, economic activity, density, medical services, legal services," said Keith Bradford, Olympia Development. 

"We're very proud of the work that we've done and we're very passionate about and committed to future progress," said Chris Ilitch, president and CEO Ilitch Holdings.

Ilitch praised the progress in the District Detroit but it's precisely the lack of progress that's thrust his family and the city into the national spotlight.

HBO's Real Sports dedicating a recent segment to the broken promises and lack of residential properties that were part of the LCA deal brokered with the city - in exchange for hundreds of millions in public dollars.

HBO: "Seven years later how many residential units have they developed?"

"None, zero as in none," said a Detroiter in the program.

The District promising places to live in the heart of the action - but properties are still boarded up - and parking lots instead coat the landscape.

Chris Ilitch was evasive when asked if the criticism they're facing - is well deserved.

"I'm aware of the coverage that's been out there but I'm so focused on everything that we're working on," he said. "There's so much to do, we have so many great projects. This one today that we've broken ground on, is an unbelievable project.

"So we're busy at work on this, we're finishing up the Little Caesar’s World headquarters building."

Talking to people walking through the district - it's a mixed bag of opinions.

"You see how much work they've done in this area in how many years - what three or four years - that's pretty quick don't you think," one man said.

FOX 2: "You feel like there's construction - there must be something happening?"

"That's pretty much how it's been since I was like a little kid," said one woman.

FOX 2: "So there's a lot of attention being paid to this area and not enough to the neighborhoods?

"Yes, I would 100 percent say that," one man said.

But since we're talking about this neighborhood - the Detroit Downtown Development Authority - which put $320 million into the construction of LCA, has now approved a deal requiring the Ilitches develop the Hotel Eddystone there by 2023.