The Building Tradesman Newspaper

Friday, January 20, 2017

No Zamboni yet, but soon: Trades excavate base of Little Caesars Arena

By The Building Tradesman

DETROIT - Here's hoping the ice surface at Little Caesars Arena will be as good as it is at Joe Louis Arena for the Red Wings and their opponents.

The process of creating the infrastructure for that new ice surface began this month, with the excavation of the base of the 20,000-seat arena. The heavy equipment was handled by Local 324 operating engineers employed by RBV Contracting.

The start-up of work on ice sub-surface is the latest milestone for the $730 million arena, which will be home to the Detroit Red Wings and Detroit Pistons with the start of their seasons this fall.

The new arena is the centerpiece of The District Detroit, one of the largest sports and entertainment developments in the country. Located along Woodward Avenue in the heart of Detroit, this 50-block, mixed-use development led by the Ilitch organization unites six world-class theaters, five neighborhoods and three professional sports venues in one walkable destination for people who want to live, work and play in an exciting urban environment.

This month The District Detroit released new construction progress photos and related information on the building of the arena.

*Little Caesars Arena has more than 1,000 workers on site six days a week across three shifts: 960 on days; 110 on the second shift and 20 on the third shift.

*More than 140 apprentices have worked on the site so far.

*Nearly $575 million in contracts have been awarded so far and more than 90 percent of contracts have gone to Michigan companies. More than $345 million in contracts have been awarded to Detroit-based businesses, representing more than 60 percent of total contracts.

*Highly-visible brick masonry is nearly complete on the north side of the building and is progressing well in other areas.

*The arena’s structural steel frame is complete with 7,666 pieces erected.

*More than 86,000 cubic yards of concrete have been poured at the arena and adjacent structures

*Much of the arena bowl has been enclosed and temporary heaters are being used to keep temperatures well above freezing to support work through the winter months

*Installation of the unique jewel skin exterior surface that wraps around the Via (an indoor, street-style shopping and dining scene) is well underway. The jewel skin is a complex system of radial metal panels that will also provide a unique feature wall.

For other construction at the site and nearby:

*Little Caesers is also building a new headquarters, and some vertical steel to support it is rising above a newly poured basement on the Woodward side of the building.

*The last piece of structural pre-cast concrete has been placed at the new Tiger Garage #2 and it is on schedule to be in service for opening day

*Foundation concrete and structural steel are complete on two new retail and office buildings near the arena on Woodward Avenue and on Henry Street. 

*Foundation work continues on a new mixed-use building southwest of Henry and Park streets.

WITH HIS EXCAVATOR atop what will be a faceoff circle at Little Caesars Arena, Adam Kohler of Operating Engineers Local 324 moves earth to allow for the placement of refrigeration equipment and then concrete to support the ice surface. He’s employed by RBV Contracting. District Detroit photo

CONSTRUCTION of Little Caesars Arena along Woodward Avenue in Detroit is racing along, on schedule to be complete this fall for the season openers of the Detroit Red Wings and Pistons. District Detroit photo