Sport facility on Detroit riverfront to be named for former Pistons, Shock owner

Amelia Benavides-Colón
The Detroit News

Detroit — A structure being built on the Detroit riverfront will be named for a former owner of the Detroit Pistons and Detroit Shock.

The William "Bill" Davidson Sport House is set to be built in the future Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Centennial Park along the West Riverfront, and will feature two public, open-air basketball courts and flexible space for a variety of activities. 

The Sport House will be the only one of its kind, according to the president and CEO of the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy, Mark Wallace. 

Designed by award-winning Ghanaian-British architect Sir David Adjaye, who also designed the National Museum of African American History and Culture, the William Davidson Sport House is slated for completion in 2023.

“It will be a draw for youth from the city of Detroit and from the southeast Michigan region. This park will be like no other park anywhere in the world, and it will contribute to an increased quality of life for generations of Detroiters," said Wallace.

The Riverfront Conservancy has been in the process of revitalizing the Detroit Riverwalk for nearly 20 years.

The future 22-acre Ralph C Wilson Jr. Centennial Park is the most significant portion of the revitalization, as it will "dramatically chance the landscape along the downtown riverfront ... ."

In addition to the Sport House, the park will feature a Water Wonderland, Delta Dental Play Garden designed for children and a large lawn for other programming.

The William Davidson Foundation has given more than $11 million to the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy to date. The Sport House is slated to be completed in 2023 and will feature a raised canopy and skylight. 

 "We are honored that the William Davidson Foundation chose the Detroit Riverfront to be the recipient of its generosity," said the chairman of the board for the DFC foundation, Matthew Cullen. “Their investment in the Sport House adds yet another chapter in the nearly 20 year transformational story of the riverfront, which is a community-wide story of partnerships."

The naming of the Sport House will be highlighted at the Conservancy’s “Shimmer on the River” fundraising event Friday night and the West Riverfront Block Party on Saturday.