Businessman Dan Gilbert‘s effort to bring the MLS to Detroit could have a clear direction next month, when a study concerning a sought-after stadium site is released.
Gilbert, along with Tom Gores, has actively pitched the idea of placing an MLS expansion franchise in Detroit. The targeted site for a soccer-specific stadium is a parcel on Gratiot that has been slated to be used by Wayne County for the construction of a jail.
Construction began on the jail several years ago, but stopped in 2013 because of cost issues. According to Gilbert, the study he commissioned will measure the viability of the site for a stadium. However, there is still a possibility that construction on the prison will resume. More from the Detroit Free Press:
“Somewhere in early December, it’s going to come to a head,” Gilbert said Friday in an interview after a business school presentation at the University of Michigan.
Gilbert said he had to hire his own expert to examine the jail site after the idea of sharing the costs of a joint consultant with Wayne County fizzled.
Last week, County Executive Warren Evans said that according to the county’s consultant, the county’s infamous fail jail is in good enough condition to restart construction as early as next year — a move that could effectively block Gilbert’s stadium plans on the same site.
That’s according to a report by Ohio-based Mannik and Smith Group, which notes, among other things, the presence of hairline cracking in concrete but says it is normal and of no structural concern. The report also notes that precast jail cells are in good condition and oxidation from exposed rebar visible on columns has not compromised the strength of the concrete.
Gores has previously remarked that he and Gilbert are not “married” to the Gatriot site, but that location has been focused on for its accessibility, proximity to downtown Detroit, and potential for other development. Once the study is released, Gilbert and Gores should have an idea as to whether it is worth lobbying for Gatriot or to focus their efforts elsewhere in Detroit.
Images courtesy Rosetti.