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Tiger Stadium site moves closer to being redeveloped

Louis Aguilar and Christine Ferretti
The Detroit News

The empty land where Tiger Stadium once stood is as close to becoming redeveloped as it has ever been.

On Tuesday, Detroit City Council approved transferring ownership of the public land for $1 to the city’s economic development agency. That paves the way for the Corktown land to soon become controlled by the group that wants to build an athletic complex that could host youth games.

A four-story residential building, row of townhouses, and 30,000 square feet of retail space are also in the plans.

Major details, including corporate sponsors of the development, are expected to be announced in January. Construction could begin in March. The project could be completed by spring 2017.

It’s been a passionate and sometimes ugly public debate of what to do with the 91/2 acre site ever since the Detroit Tigers moved to Comerica Park in 1999. Preservationists fought hard to keep the stadium. But city officials maintained that never made financial sense. The stadium started to be demolished in 2008.

The planned development is a joint project of Detroit Police Athletic League and the Old Tiger Stadium Conservancy. The dual effort was approved in December by the Detroit Economic Growth Corp.

Detroit PAL would open a 9,300-square-foot headquarters at the site, officials have said. The athletic field is slated to be the site’s public square for soccer and football games, as well as baseball and day camps, on a synthetic turf field.

Detroit PAL officials said Tuesday artificial turf is necessary to ensure that the field can be used during any kind of weather and for years of activity. Also talks are underway with the owners of the Tigers to somehow relocate and preserve the grass field.

The sports complex meshes with a $33 million plan called The Corner, which includes retail and residential development.

Memories of Tiger Stadium

The stadium’s actual playing field remains at the corner where the stadium once stood and the diamond and grass have been preserved mainly by a volunteer group called the Navin Field Ground Crew.

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