Pontiac Silverdome demolition to start next month

Mark Hicks
The Detroit News

Crews are set to start razing the Pontiac Silverdome next month, city officials announced Friday.

The city has issued a demolition permit to Detroit-based Adamo Group, the contractor the owners of the iconic property retained for the job, representatives said in a statement.

The process is expected to launch Dec. 3 with a partial implosion of the mechanical equipment platform atop the 400,000-square-foot structure that once housed the Detroit Lions. In case of inclement weather, the date moves to Dec. 10, according to the release.

The entire demolition could take a year and paves the way for redevelopment, city officials said.

“Farewell Silverdome, hello world of new opportunity,” Mayor Deirdre Waterman said. “When the demolition is complete, the site will be one of the hottest properties in Southeast Michigan. The City of Pontiac is ready to work with any developers who want to optimize the potential of this property.”

Waterman and city officials have long been working with Triple Investment Group, which has owned the site since 2009, to clear the stadium that opened in 1975 at a cost to taxpayers of $55.7 million.

After TIG failed to sell the once-popular entertainment destination for $30 million, officials in 2015 announced demolition plans.

The nearly 130-acre site fell into disuse once the Lions left for Ford Field in 2002 — losing its inflatable dome after a snowstorm and essentially functioning as the world’s largest bird bath, Waterman told state lawmakers this year.

The parcel near M-59 and Interstate 75 cost about $1.5 million annually to maintain. As the city dealt with a financial crisis, state-appointed emergency manager Fred Leeb auctioned the site.

In February, Pontiac filed for nuisance abatement, alleging building, safety and zoning codes violations after part of the parking lot was used to store Volkswagen cars during the automaker’s U.S. emissions scandal. That launched negotiations between the owners and Pontiac, which led to setting demolition terms in a consent agreement entered weeks later in 50th District Court.

The razing had initially been slated to start last summer but was delayed.

Adamo was set to implode the Georgia Dome this month before proceeding, officials said in October.

The contractor’s leader was unavailable for an interview Friday night. An attorney for Triple Investment Group did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The scheduled blast on Dec. 3 breaks metal beams supporting the upper ring of the stadium, the city reported Friday.

The rest of the razing involves hydraulic excavators and an estimated 1,700 tons of structural steel, plus 1,800 tons of rebar.