Rumors Hot Again About a Joint Pistons/Red Wings Arena In Downtown Detroit

Back in June of last year, the Detroit Athletic Co. blog was the first to report that the Detroit Red Wings and Detroit Pistons were exploring a joint venture of building an arena in downtown Detroit and that the Red Wings might temporarily use the Palace until such a facility was built.

PalaceAuburnOn Sunday, Detroit News sportswriter Chris McCosky reported essentially the same speculation by stating that it is likely that a joint venture arena would be built in downtown Detroit within the decade and that Piston/Palace Sports Entertainment owner Karen Davidson might be selling her entertainment empire. I just wonder if Dan Gilbert may be the likely suitor if he is willing to sell the Cleveland Cavaliers.

It is hard to believe that the Palace of Auburn Hills, which is just 20 years old and one of the finest facilities in the country and copied by scores of other teams would suddenly become obsolete in less than ten years. Like the Silverdome, is it really possible that the Palace could become yet another Oakland County white elephant?

To the late Bill Davidson’s credit, at least the Palace was built without any public money unlike virtually every other stadium and arena in this country.

It is also absolutely amazing that so many stadiums and arenas built after 1970 have had a “useful” life of 25 to 35 years.

The bottom line is that if the Pistons and Red Wings want to build their own shared arena, not one dime of public money should be spent on it. Millions of dollars of public tax subsidies have already be spent on the Silverdome, Joe Louis Arena, Comerica Park, Ford Field, and the Lions’ Allen Park practice facility. This region cannot afford to invest more public money to subsidize professional sports, especially when we have so many other needs. Besides, studies have continued to show that subsidizing sports stadiums and arenas does not significantly bring about sustained economic redevelopment.

If the teams want to build a new facility, let the owners and their multimillionaire employees invest in it. For god’s sake, don’t look to the public.

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