Starting in the late 1990s, Ilitch developed and executed a 15-year plan that critics call "dereliction by design," in which he quietly bought around 70 properties and left them to rot. That drove down land value and created a redevelopment dead zone that Detroit quickly regenerated around, thus allowing Ilitch to buy up more property for cheap.
But — most importantly — it also helped him convince lawmakers that the Corridor wouldn't redevelop without the public pitching in over $300 million to fund his plan.
While stadium deals promising questionable returns are common, it's rare to find a franchise that deliberately knocks life out of a neighborhood, then asks residents to help pay to revive it.
Yet in 2012, a weakened Detroit government agreed to do just that.
Saturday, September 16, 2017
"How the Ilitches used 'dereliction by design' to get their new Detroit arena"