Detroit MLS Organizers: We’re Ready to Roll

Proposed Detroit MLS stadium

Owners of a potential new Detroit MLS team say they’ll be ready to move forward with planning on a new downtown stadium, once more information about the expansion process comes from league leadership.

Detroit Pistons owner Tom Gores and Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert are behind the creation of a Detroit MLS team and a new downtown stadium. The plan would be for Gores’ Palace Sports and Entertainment to run the team, with Gilbert working on a development plan that would include the new stadium. The stadium is being positioned as a welcoming gateway to downtown Detroit, located on Gratiot near Interstate 375. But there’s one issue: Wayne County, which controls the land, has been building a new jail on the site (a process held up by financial issues) and county officials want to see that jail completed.

Heading the effort is Arn Tellem, vice chairman of Palace Sports and Entertainment and the Detroit Pistons. According to Tellem, he and the potential owners are ready to move forward with planning: they’ve already decided the Wayne County jail site would work best for a new stadium, and they’re just waiting for the word from MLS officials. From the Detroit Free Press:

The group should receive a clarified timetable on its MLS expansion process soon. And Tellem says that the commitment remains to build a soccer stadium at the unfinished Wayne County jail site on Gratiot near Greektown.

“We need to have, under the MLS guidelines, the site in the heart of downtown,” Tellem said. “The successful franchises have all had stadiums in the core of a city, and the most recent developments where teams have built new stadiums, they’ve all been downtown.

“The jail site is, by far, the best site because it’s at the entryway to the city. It’s near all the other developments of the other stadiums. You can walk to Midtown, downtown and be in the heart of the city, and we want people to be able to walk to the game. That’s part of the environment we’re trying to create.”

The jail site, of course, will be a huge roadblock for a Detroit MLS team, as Wayne County has shown absolutely no interest in giving up the site.

Images courtesy Rosetti.

RELATED STORIES: Can Passion for Soccer Scale in Detroit?; Gores, Gilbert Pitch New Detroit MLS Stadium, Expansion Team

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