With or without their preferred stadium site, Dan Gilbert and Tom Gores could make a competitive case for Detroit to join the MLS, according to mayor Mike Duggan.
A decision is expected to be made in the coming weeks about whether Gilbert and Gores can move forward with plans for a new stadium on Gratiot Avenue. Wayne County has been looking to resume the construction of an unfinished jail at that location, but a recent offer from Gilbert’s Rock Ventures could allow the county to build the penitentiary at another site in exchange for the property.
The county is currently reviewing that offer, and has indicated that it might make a decision within two weeks. In the meantime, Duggan is expressing confidence that Wayne County executive Warren Evans will carefully consider the proposal and make the right decision. However, the mayor added that if the effort to land that property comes up short, Gilbert and Gores will have other options on the table. More from The Detroit News:
Either way, the mayor — an advocate for an MLS franchise in the city — said Detroit has other viable sites for the stadium should this plan not work out. Although, he declined Wednesday to name them.
“I feel very good about our options for landing an MLS franchise,” he said. “Detroit is the largest market in America that does not have an MLS team.”
The only reason Detroit doesn’t have a franchise, Duggan said, is because it hasn’t had an outdoor stadium that seats 20,000 to 30,000.
“That’s the only reason we don’t have a franchise today,” he said.
Detroit has some intriguing components in its MLS bid, especially given that Gilbert and Gores have solid track records as the respective owners of the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers and Detroit Pistons. If the stadium site can be finalized, be it Gratiot Avenue or elsewhere, the city figures to be an even more formidable expansion contender.
Images courtesy Rosetti.
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