Owners want $30M for Silverdome

Mike Martindale
The Detroit News

Pontiac — News that the Pontiac Silverdome is up for sale prompted Oakland County Treasurer Andy Meisner to snipe at its "fire sale" purchase six years ago by a Canadian company.

The current asking price of the former home of the Detroit Lions, currently owned by Triple Properties, is $30 million, according to broker Robert Mihelich.

The Toronto-based company purchased the Silverdome in 2009 for $583,000 at auction from Pontiac's emergency financial manager as it desperately tried to shed itself of costly city-owned properties and millions of dollars in red ink.

The bargain sale was criticized then by many and Meisner said it looks even worse today, especially considering the owner hopes to sell it for nearly 50 times that amount. Meisner said it should serve as a reminder in transactions of other unused properties.

"The fire sale of the Silverdome for $583,000 without a development agreement to make sure the purchaser made the proper investments in the project and returned it to productive use is a worst-case scenario for Oakland County property values and one of the most strategic parcels in the region," said Meisner.

"The marketing of the Silverdome for a ridiculous price after the property was bled dry is real estate speculation at its worst and proves there was never a viable plan. It's time to focus on a successful redevelopment of this critical property, much like what needs to happen with Bloomfield Park, Northland and Summit Place malls."

Property and real estate sales have reportedly been improving in Metro Detroit and investors have shown interest in long-neglected commercial properties.

The Lions moved from the 127-acre Silverdome parcel to Ford Field in Detroit in January 2002 and events in the 80,000-seat Silverdome — which in its prime once hosted WrestleMania, a Papal visit, the World Cup and the biggest names in rock music — were few and far between.

The Canadian company's vision of hosting professional soccer games in the Silverdome — a failing venture attempted nearly 40 years earlier — was never realized.

The Silverdome's roof, no longer inflated, has fallen into disrepair, and this past year items inside the facility were auctioned off.

mmartindale@detroitnews.com

(248) 338-0319