Detroiters remember Mike Ilitch
He was born here raised here and made his fortune here.
Mike Ilitch a self- made business man who turned Motown into Hockeytown died Friday.
He was 87 years old and left an indelible mark on Detroit.
“It's a mark that's continuing to give. We're talking about a legacy of investment that's going to be a part of Detroit’s future and that really been catalytic to where we are now, “ said Rodrick Miller, President & CEO DEGC.
Unlike so many of his contemporaries who fled the city - Ilitch doubled down on Detroit.
He moved the Red Wings to the city in 1982 and relocated the Little Caesars Headquarters downtown after buying and restoring Fox Theatre in 1989.
We spoke to former Detroit mayor Dennis Archer.
“It was mike Ilitch who brought the people. He brought the people because between the Fox and the Red Wings and before he bought the Detroit tigers, he brought a million people - 1.1 million people downtown to enjoy sports and entertainment. His investment was a huge catalyst. I was very privileged to be able to help bring in the Detroit Tigers - or move the tigers into what is now Comerica Park.
“He stayed here in the Detroit region he continued to make investments here in the Detroit region when no one at the time was doing it so I think for that we'll forever be grateful as a city,” said Miller.
“I mean Mike, he created what we have in Detroit today he’s done some much directly getting us to our next level of excitement,” said Evan Perelekos of the Fillmore Theatre.
Metro Detroiters will experience it without him.
The little Caesars arena in Midtown opens this fall.
The Red Wings and the Pistons will call it home.
While the Ilitch's faced criticism for partly financing the new arena with public dollars, their efforts will make history. Come this fall. It will be the first time all four professional sports teams will play in Detroit and within walking distance of one another in decades.
“I’m sure the city’s strong enough to walk his path and continue.”