The dilapidated Pontiac Silverdome may have sold for a song back in 2009, but the items left inside brought in big bucks during an online auction this month.
From scoreboards to pretzel warmers, press box cameras to end zone turf, about $500,000 worth of fixtures were snapped up from the white-domed former home of the Detroit Lions. In total, 3,077 items were offered during the auction from June 11-19, with most everything selling.
“We consider it a success,” said Jim Passeno, facilities manager for Plymouth-based RJM Auctioneers, which held the auction. “We had a huge response nationwide.”
A Canadian company, Triple Investment Properties, bought the Silverdome for $583,000 in 2009. The company has not said what it plans to do with the stadium; its roof collapsed during inclement weather in January 2013. The company did not respond to a request for comment Friday afternoon.
Some of the auctioned fixtures were aimed at industrial buyers — furnaces, forklifts, substations, generators, even parking lot lights. Much of it was food service equipment, from pretzel warmers to cappuccino machines.
Many items sold for only a few dollars, but some brought in a sizable chunk of money, according to amounts reported on the auction’s website.
A dozen men’s and women’s public restrooms and contents, including sinks and toilets, sold for around $170. Large amps and electrical switches brought in at least $42,500.
Assorted signs for seating and scoreboards sold for around $5,300. Thousands of dollars worth of press box cameras were picked up. A boxing ring went for $350 and soccer posts for $700, while the turf on the field sold for $3,800. The end zone turf from both sides of the field, which still has the Lions logo on it, sold for $1,600 each.
The biggest moneymaker was the rights to all the copper wiring in the stadium, which saw 44 bidders duke it out for a final sale of $77,501.
Passeno said that even though the auction was successful, the property owners still haven’t made money on the deal. The original plan was to revive the Silverdome as a soccer stadium, but that fell through.
“They had a half-a-million-dollar soccer field they bought that was put in there as well as paying for maintenance of $1.5 million a year up until the roof caved in,” Passeno said. “They’re not ahead because of the auction.”
Fans of the Silverdome can still go online to purchase seats, although there are no future plans for another general auction.
More information is available on www.silverdomeseats.com.