Hockey Haven

The new $650 million Red Wings arena and entertainment district vows to dazzle Detroit.


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Marquardt agrees that nothing has posed more of a challenge for the project’s larger goals than I-75 cutting right through the heart of the development area. “In some ways it’s 150 feet wide,” Marquardt says. “In other ways, it might as well be a mile wide. But we’re dealing with it.”

Olympia officials view the area as five distinctive neighborhoods, all of which have their own characteristics — Columbia Street, Columbia Park, Woodward Square, Wildcat Corner, and Cass Park Village. The larger vision is that each neighborhood will grow in accordance with its own traits, spurred by the attractions that start with the arena and branch off from there.

Olympia was determined, early on, that the project should have a single brand identity — at least at the outset — so those talking about the project would all understand it by the same name and vision. For that, they turned to Detroit-based Gyro Creative, which is led by the husband-and-wife team of Matt DiDio and Angela Topacio. The firm engaged in an extensive creative process before presenting the Ilitches with the idea of calling the project District Detroit.

“What we had to do was a platform or a brand on a grand scale,” DiDio says. “The District Detroit platform was developed because it encompasses everything that’s happening right now — the new arena and the vision of everything that should be happening in the end.”

Eventually, Topacio says, the brand identity of District Detroit will give way to identities for specific elements that arise naturally.

But not yet.

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