Implosion to rock the Palace of Auburn Hills Saturday morning

Neal Rubin
The Detroit News

Auburn Hills — Eight hundred pounds of dynamite will put a decisive end to three decades of history Saturday morning when what's left of the Palace of Auburn Hills is imploded.

Homrich, the Carleton-based demolition company that's been taking down the arena since March 2, will lower the boom at 8 a.m., according to Stephanie Carroll, the manager of business development and community relations for Auburn Hills.

Several nearby roads will be closed for the implosion.

The dynamite will target 22 reinforced concrete columns, each four feet in diameter, and the roof structure they support.

"Following the detonation," Carroll said, "the roof structure will fall to the ground in a period of four to five seconds."

After that, she said, will come several months of cleanup and the filling of the hole that held service areas and underground suites.

The 22,000-seat arena had been awash in cheers and spilled beer from its opening on Aug. 13, 1988, with a Sting concert to its final event, a Bob Seger show on Sept. 23, 2017. Seger brought down the house figuratively with the last notes of  "Rock and Roll Never Forgets" nearly three years before Homrich will bring down the house literally.

The Detroit Pistons, whose former owner, Bill Davidson, built the Palace, left for Little Caesars Arena in Detroit after the 2017 season.

Current Pistons owner Tom Gores announced in June 2019 that the building had been sold to a joint venture comprised of Gores and the Livonia-based development company Schostak Brothers & Co.

Schostak Brothers president Jeffrey Schostak said the implosion "marks the beginning of an exciting new era. The expansive and innovative development to come will bring hundreds of jobs and fresh opportunities for growth in a great part of southeast Michigan."

The site is scheduled to hold 1 million square feet of mixed-use office and research and development space. The city council had rezoned it for research and development before the sale, Carroll said.

It had been vacant land before Davidson moved the Pistons from the Pontiac Silverdome, which was demolished in 2017-18.

Road closures tied to the implosion include northbound Lapeer Road at the M-24 interchange; southbound Lapeer at Harmon Road; and the M-24 interchange to I-75 in both directions, from I-75 and from M-24.

The closures will last for about 30 minutes, Carroll said, starting 10 minutes before the blast.

Twitter: @nealrubin_dn