Contractors working on the $863 million Little Caesars Arena in Detroit have paid $5.2 million in fines to the city for failing to meet the local worker requirement.
Contractors fell short of the mandate requiring at least 51% of workers on the new hockey arena be Detroit residents. Of nearly 3 million hours worked on the project, Detroit residents worked just 25% of the total.
That is less than half of what is required for projects that receive brownfield tax abatements or for where developers are able to purchase city land for below-market prices. Local participation was lowest in skilled trade positions including steel work, electrical, plumbing, and carpentry.
The fines will fund construction training programs, but some contractors can avoid fines if they hire from plumbing and carpentry unions that set aside 25% of their first-year apprentice positions for Detroit residents.