Drive by the new dazzling Little Caesars Arena in Detroit’s burgeoning entertainment district on Woodward and you may not even realize you’ve just passed an arena. That’s exactly how Olympia Entertainment wanted it.

Working with HOK Architects, a global design, architecture, engineering and planning firm, Tom Wilson, president and CEO of Olympia Entertainment, says they wanted to create a four-story building along the perimeter of the new $862.9 million arena that looked like it had been there for decades. Cement Manhole Cover

New Little Caesars Arena designed to blend in

They also wanted to create the illusion of several buildings. They used 22 kinds of brick on the arena.

“So when you’re walking down Woodward, it seems like different restaurant and retail experiences. It’s three or four different buildings,” said Wilson, pointing to the various bricks used at the north end of the arena. “If you’re walking down Woodward, you’d think: ‘Where the hell is the arena?’ ”

It’s there — it’s just tucked inside a four-story building. And the design varies from end-to-end of the building. The concourse near the north end of the building, for example, was designed to feel like a city, Wilson said. Manhole covers can be seen in the floor. Wood covers portions of the first floor ceiling to cover up mechanicals.

The south end of the building is more modern with terrazzo tile floors.

The arena itself, meanwhile, is ultra-modern, Wilson said. Twelve laser projectors are mounted near the ceiling to project on to the exterior of the arena inside the concourse so people can watch the game or a concert while going to get another drink or take a bathroom break.

New Little Caesars Arena designed to blend in

B125 Manhole Cover “There’s nothing like it in the world,” Wilson said.