Earlier this week we had the chance to swing by the new Mike Ilitch Wayne State School of Business building to see how construction was coming along.

It’s a $50 million development on Woodward Avenue at Temple, right next to the new Little Caesars Arena complex.

So far, 140 tons of steel have been installed. There is still another 1,000 or so tons to go.

The next phase will be decking in June, followed by a glass facade.

The school will house a variety of programs, and a digital ticker tape you’ll be able to see from Woodward.

There will be a trading and big data laboratory and the business school will have some new programs at the new location.

“Given our new location, one of the things we’re going to start with once we move in here is we’re going to have a concentration in our MBA program in sport and entertainment management, which given our location, it just makes sense,” said Bob Forsythe, Dean of the Mike Ilitch School of Business. “We’re going to be within walking distance of four professional sports teams, the Fox, the Philmore, the arena, and we’ll be able to do that.”

A new certificate in entrepreneurship will be offered to help support and grow surrounding businesses.

The project came together rather quickly after being something on the “wish list” for more than a decade.

“Chris Ilitch actually came to campus to talk about the family’s plans in Detroit, and he asked our president, “Are there things that we can do with Wayne State?” The president talked about things like we need residence halls and so on, and almost as an afterthought at the end of the conversation, he said, “You know, we’re thinking of moving the business school downtown,” said Forsythe.

“That was the Tuesday before Thanksgiving of 2014, and the very next week, Chris called the president and said, “Mr. President, I spent Thanksgiving with my parents, and we want to build you a business school,” said Forsythe.

As we were told the story, a former dean of the business wrote a letter and delivered it to Mike and Marian fifteen years ago asking them to build a business school. Upon the next visit of Chris Ilitch, he actually brought that old letter with him.

The school which will be built in a “U” shape will serve more than 3,500 students at the new location.

The project, according to those on site, is on pace for an April 2018 grand opening.

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