With this note of appreciation, Healthy Living joins the Detroit community in honoring a great man who has blessed our city with his vision, spirit, and leadership. Mike Ilitch not only brought championship teams to Detroit – he was a pioneer in the City’s revitalization that continues to gather momentum and flourish. Mr. Ilitch’s commitment to reawakening downtown Detroit has allowed us and many others to work in and enjoy the City as we do today.
He built a foundation.
Mr. Ilitch had a dream of what downtown Detroit could be. Way back before investing in Detroit was stylish, Mike Ilitch was building a foundation for the grand Woodward Avenue Central Business District and the rebirth of the city. He paved the way for many companies and small businesses to move into the city from the suburbs to be part of the life and excitement of the Motor City.
He created a legacy.
The ‘first step’ was Ilitch’s restoration of the Fox Theatre in 1988, when it became the new headquarters of Little Caesars and open for theater and concerts once again. Some especially remarkable pieces of Ilitch’s downtown Detroit legacy include:
· Owning and investing in the Detroit Red Wings & Detroit Tigers
· Building Comerica Park
· Restoring and re-opening the Fox Theatre
· Starting and growing the Little Caesars empire
· Creating Little Caesars Arena (opening Fall 2017)
He cared about the community.
Ilitch’s contributions to our city have ranged from immense and wide-reaching to community-based. Mike Ilitch started the Little Caesars baseball program 40 years ago before he owned the Tigers. It has been renamed Detroit Caesars Baseball in honor of Mr. Ilitch. Many younger players have benefited from the opportunity to play on his teams, and this is just one example of Ilitch’s investment in the community.
He was dear to many.
Recently, there was a great article in the Detroit News where Al Kaline was interviewed about his friendship and time with Mike Ilitch. Kaline played on the Detroit Tigers for 20 years – his entire career. He was loyal to the Tigers and developed a close relationship with Mr. Ilitch. After he retired as a player, Kaline was hired into the front office, became the Tigers’ color commentator, and then later became Ilitch’s special assistant.
Read more about Kaline’s experience in his own words.
His impact is broad and will be long-lasting.
Because of Mike Ilitch’s work, Healthy Living is situated in our new home – the Francis Palms Building on Woodward Avenue in Detroit. This area is vibrant, and the energy helps us attract and retain the best people. On the near horizon, the QLINE (M-1 Rail) is coming into service this spring, and the Little Caesars Arena will be ready for action this fall.
Thanks to Mr. Ilitch, things are only getting better. His leadership and legacy will never be forgotten, and Mike Ilitch’s vision will continue to be an inspiration to us and our commitment to the Detroit community.
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