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Detroit Fines Arena Builders

Monday, October 17, 2016

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Several contractors working on the new $627.5-million National Hockey League arena development in downtown Detroit have failed to follow a local hiring mandate, costing them at least $500,000, city officials say.

The arena developer, Olympia Development of Michigan, is required to ensure at least 51 percent of the workers building the arena actually live in Detroit, The Detroit Free Press reports.  However, several unidentified contractors have failed to meet that requirement and are shelling out hundreds of thousands to the city, the report says.

The contractors have cited a lack of skilled-trade workers who live in the city. In the lead-up to the project, the developer was reported to have held job fairs throughout the city.

Training Locals

The city seems to recognize the issue and is using the money collected from the fines for training programs designed to train Detroiters for careers in construction and skilled trades.

“The 51 percent local hiring requirement was written into the arena deal to ensure that a wide swath of Detroiters benefit from having such a large project in their city with considerable taxpayer subsidies,” according the Detroit Free Press.

The Little Caesars Arena, which will be home ice to the Red Wings NHL team, is set to open next fall. The arena project also includes a mix of new residential, retail and commercial developments at the site.

A National Issue

The shortage of skilled trade workers is an issue across the country, according to the Associated General Contractors. Citing an industry-wide survey, the AGC reports that 69 percent of firms are having difficulty finding craft workers.

“These shortages have the potential to undermine broader economic growth by forcing contractors to slow scheduled work or choose not to bid on projects, thereby inflating the cost of construction,” said Stephen Sandherr, chief executive officer for the AGC.


Tagged categories: Commercial Construction; Construction; Enforcement; Regulations; Stadiums/Sports Facilities; Worker training; Workers

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