FORTY YEARS AFTER it opened, Joe Louis Arena in Detroit has spent this summer and fall slowly being reduced to a structural skeleton and rubble - and soon an empty lot. Demolition contractor Adamo and union trades workers have been on the job tearing down the 20,000-seat arena that was home ice for four Stanley Cup championships for the Detroit Red Wings. Adamo opted to use heavy equipment like cranes and excavators as opposed to explosives to bring down the structure. The five-acre Joe Louis Arena site is owned by the City of Detroit and occupies a prime piece of real estate on the city's riverfront. Plans for re-development have not been announced. The JLA hosted its first event on Dec. 12, 1979: a college basketball game between the University of Michigan and the University of Detroit. The Red Wings played their first game at Joe Louis Arena on Dec. 27, 1979, losing 3-2 to the St. Louis Blues.
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