Olympia Entertainment has notified the City of Detroit, MI, that it will not exercise its option to extend its lease for another 20 years...

Olympia Entertainment has notified the City of Detroit, MI, that it will not exercise its option to extend its lease for another 20 years on the Joe Louis Arena and Cobo Arena after it expires on June 30, 2010. Cobo Arena will return to the City of Detroit, which will help the venue to keep the North American Auto Show in Detroit.

Olympia, however, is interested in a new lease just for Joe Louis Arena and has been working with the City this past year on a new lease specifically for Joe Louis Arena. Both venues were covered under the current lease, which would have automatically renewed for another 20 years if Olympia Entertainment did not notify the city of its decision by June 30, 2009.

“The existing lease was crafted more than three decades ago by individuals no longer associated with either Olympia Entertainment or the City,” said Christopher Ilitch, president and CEO of Ilitch Holdings, Inc., in a statement.

Ilitch continued, “It does not fully contemplate one: the evolution of the sports and entertainment industry; two: the current economic environment in which both the City and Olympia Entertainment are operating and; three: the infrastructure replacement and repair needs of a 30-year-old building in order to meet the competitive industry standards of today.”

Illitch further stated that they have been and continue to be very supportive of keeping the Auto Show in Detroit, and this is one way Olympia Entertainment can help meet that objective.

“We believe that any economic benefit to Olympia Entertainment by continuing to operate Cobo Arena in the future is outweighed by the potential that a positive resolution on the Cobo issue will have for the region and state.”