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Detroit group says it will meet MLS deadline

Louis Aguilar
The Detroit News

A spokesman says Detroit Pistons owner Tom Gores aims to meet the Tuesday deadline to formally apply for a Major League Soccer expansion team in Detroit. That MLS team could still play at the site of the stalled Wayne County jail project in Greektown.

“We are still working through the process,” said Kevin Grigg, head of communications at Gores’ Palace Sports and Entertainment. “It’s our intention to get something in” by the Jan. 31 deadline, Grigg said. The league is expected to reveal late Tuesday the names of the cities who applied to get a new major league soccer team, which starts the process of potentially getting an expansion club.

Detroit is expected to be among 10 cities competing for four MLS expansion spots. The other cities expected to compete for a team are Charlotte, Cincinnati, Nashville, Raleigh/Durham, Sacramento, St. Louis, San Antonio, San Diego and Tampa/St. Petersburg.

In April, Tom Gores and Quicken Loans Inc. founder Dan Gilbert announced their bid for a MLS franchise. They have proposed building a $1 billion mixed-use stadium complex on the site of the stalled Wayne County jail project in Greektown. But Wayne County officials have said they intend to finish the jail.

Last week, Wayne County Executive Warren Evans said the county will issue on Feb. 10 a request for bids to finish the jail. After that date, the county “will not consider any alternative proposals,” he said

The Gores/Gilbert group still aims to convince Wayne County to sell it the Greektown site, officials said Monday.

“The timing requirements put forward by County Executive Evans are clear and fully understood by our team,” Matt Cullen, president and CEO of Gilbert’s Rock Ventures, said in a written statement Monday. “We have now completed enough of our initial due diligence that will allow us to submit our offer in advance of the county executive’s deadline. To respect the integrity of that process we will not have any comments on the specific content of our proposal until after it has been delivered to Wayne County officials.”