Detroit — It’s a final farewell to Auburn Hills.
The Pistons opened their new practice facility on Monday afternoon, effectively ending their three-decades’ run in The Palace and the adjacent practice facility.
The new $90-million Henry Ford Detroit Pistons Performance Center, located near Amsterdam and Second has 185,000 square feet, making it the largest practice facility in the NBA. It will house the team headquarters, putting the basketball operations and training areas under one roof.
“This facility is a huge win — for the community, our franchise, our fans and our future,” Pistons owner Tom Gores said in a team statement. “It’s the best training facility in the league and will give our players and coaches an edge in maximizing their performance. We are grateful to Henry Ford and everyone who played a part in establishing our new home.”
In addition to the headquarters, the facility also will house a Plum Market and Blink Fitness, which will be open to the public. The exterior has publicly accessible in-ground plaques — similar to the Hollywood Walk of Fame — and promominently displays the three championship trophies in the foyer.
Also, along the sidewalks on Amsterdam and Second, there are homages to the PIstons' greats, including Isiah Thomas, Joe Dumars, Dave Bing and others.
The new location is about two miles from Little Caesars Arena, where the Pistons play their home games, and completes the next phase of the Pistons’ relocation to downtown.
"It is one of the best facilities in the world," said Pistons owner Tom Gores. David Guralnick, The Detroit News
Gores is quick to point out that it’s not just an end point to their transition now that the facility is finished.
“This is an important milestone, but our work in Detroit is only getting started. Our ambitions have always been bigger than just basketball,” Gores said. “This is an investment in the future of our city.”
Although most of the basketball operations staff has moved into the new facility, the move was not yet complete for the rest of the staff, who will finish the move soon.
Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan highlighted the economic impact that the new practice facility will have, bringing more than 250 employees to the New Center area, in addition to foot traffic and business imprint.
More than that, he voiced his hope that the new address could be changed to reflect a championship pedigree, much as The Palace of Auburn Hills did, with its familiar locator of 4 Championship Drive.
“We’re going to stay with this until you’re satisfied — and we announce that 690 Amsterdam Avenue gets renamed 1 Championship Drive,” Duggan said.