Experiences In The D | The Blog for Visit Detroit

The Visit Detroit Blog is part of The Detroit Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau (DMCVB).

Detroit Moving Forward

Posted on Tuesday, November 24 2015 in Meeting Planning

It’s a challenge to keep up with all of the good news projects coming out of Detroit. To make your life easier, here’s a quick update on a few of the biggies!

An Even Better Hockey Arena

Work is progressing rapidly on The District Detroit, an ambitious development project to renovate 50 city blocks into a walkable sports and entertainment district. Notably, the first piece of structural steel was set in place earlier this month at the massive construction site for the new Detroit Red Wings arena, which will serve as the heart of The District when it opens in 2017.

Significant enhancements to arena plans were also announced recently. They include:

  • Fan experiences like enhanced video and sound capabilities, a “skin” on the outside of the arena bowl that can display video and graphics, and seating options such as gondola seating suspended over the event level. How cool is that?

  • Active community spaces including on-site practice ice, which can also be used for amateur hockey; an outdoor plaza featuring a massive video wall — along with more green spaces across the arena site — that will be regularly programmed with music and entertainment.

  • Operational improvements such as additional points of sale, best-in-class security systems and augmented load-in, load-out systems.

Follow construction progress via live web cam and on Instagram!

Cue the Penguins!

Great strides have been made on the eagerly anticipated Polk Penguin Conservation Center (PPCC), set to open in early 2016 at the Detroit Zoo. The 33,000-square-foot center will be the largest penguin facility in the world — yep, the world — as home to more than 80 penguins of four species — gentoo, macaroni, rockhopper and king.

The center’s design mimics the frigid conditions of Antarctica, with an exterior that resembles an iceberg.  Visitors will enter through a series of ramps surrounded by 4-D effects, including arctic blasts, waves, snow and splitting icebergs.

To keep these VIP penguins comfy, the air temperature will be set to a near-freezing 37 degrees Fahrenheit, designed to encourage their natural in-the-wild behavior.

The M-1 RAIL, once complete, will connect downtown to New Center.

Acrylic underwater tunnels — like the ones in the zoo’s polar bear exhibit — will offer visitors from around the world spectacular views of the penguins as they swim and dive into a chilled, 326,000-gallon, 25-foot-deep aquatic area.

Slight Delay for M-1 RAIL

Construction continues on the M-1 RAIL project, a 3.3-mile streetcar line running along Woodward Avenue and connecting downtown to the New Center area. The M-1 RAIL is the first major transit project to be led and funded by both private businesses and philanthropic organizations, in partnership with local government, the State of Michigan and U.S. Department of Transportation.

Passenger service, originally expected to begin in late 2016, is now estimated to start by spring 2017, as officials work through updated federal safety regulations and await delivery of the streetcars needed for passenger service to begin.

A construction map and construction schedule are available online, along with alternate routes for those impacted.

Be sure to bookmark visitdetroit.com for all of the latest news on Detroit’s evolving visitor experience.

What Detroit development project are you most excited about?

By: Michelle Fusco

Photo credit: M-1 RAIL