Little Caesars pizza is expanding its headquarters in downtown Detroit with an eight-story resource center, it announced Wednesday.
The 205,000-square-foot Little Caesars Global Resource Center will be next to the Fox Theatre and part of a larger sports and entertainment district just north of downtown.
The project is part of a surge of development along Woodward Avenue — Detroit's main business route — and was announced the same day Gov. Rick Snyder and state-appointed emergency manager Kevyn Orr said the city was exiting the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history.
Construction is scheduled to start in the spring with completion scheduled by the end of 2016.
The building will allow for 600 additional highly-skilled and high-paying jobs on Little Caesars' campus, the company said. The new building will feature training facilities for Little Caesars' franchisees and employees, innovation kitchens, an auditorium and a flagship Little Caesars pizza store.
The company has about 7,300 employees in Detroit and moved its headquarters downtown 25 years ago from the suburbs.
"We don't view Detroit's bankruptcy as this pivot point," said David Scrivano, Little Caesars president and chief executive officer. "We already know Detroit's a great place to work. We've been working downtown for many, many years and we love it here.
"The outside world doesn't yet know how great it is to work in Detroit. This will serve as a reminder. Come to Detroit; understand what we're all about."
Mike and Marian Ilitch opened the first Little Caesars pizza shop in 1959 in Garden City, west of Detroit. Its first franchise store opened three years later in Warren.
The couple now owns the NHL's Detroit Red Wings, Olympia Entertainment and development and food service distribution companies. Mike Ilitch owns the Detroit Tigers, whose stadium is across the street from the Fox.
Little Caesars' new offices also will be within walking distance of a new 45-block entertainment district that will include an 18,000-seat home arena for the Red Wings, plus residential, retail and office space. The hockey arena will open in 2017 and cost about $450 million which will be financed through bonds.
"This is exactly what Mike and Marian Ilitch ... envisioned," son Christopher Ilitch, who is Ilitch Holdings president and chief executive, said. "Detroit, undoubtedly, is in a transformational period in its history and we are exceptionally excited and honored to play a significant role in this community's rebirth."