Detroit MLS Expansion Group: We’re Focused on Jail Site for Stadium

Proposed Detroit MLS stadium

A representative for the group behind MLS expansion bid in Detroit says the it is focused on the Gratiot Avenue site for its proposed stadium.  

Led by Dan Gilbert and Tom Gores, the push to bring an MLS team to Detroit has included a concept for a new stadium on Gratiot Avenue. The site for the stadium is currently occupied by an unfinished jail, and Wayne County has indicated that it wants to resume the project–which has been idle since 2013.

Gilbert and his Rock Ventures recently submitted an offer to the county that would ultimately secure the Gratiot Avenue site for a new stadium. Under that proposal, Rock Ventures will construct a new criminal justice complex–estimated to cost $420 million–on Forest Avenue, in exchange for $300 million from the county, the parcels needed for the stadium and related development, and credit to be paid for savings generated by complex.

Matt Cullen, a principal of Rock Ventures, says that the group is continuing to work on the proposal, in hopes of presenting a more thorough plan to the MLS later this spring. He stressed, however, that the group’s current primary focus is on the Gratiot Avenue site. More from The Detroit News:

“There certainly are sites in Detroit that could be attractive, as well, but our focus has been on the jail site for a lot of reasons.

“We feel it’s the best site for this use. But also, we were focused on the jail site before MLS came along,” he said. “It’s so important to change the gateway to the city of Detroit.”

Asked if Gilbert and Gores arrive at a drop dead date in 2017 or 2018 without locking up the Gratiot site, if they would forego the opportunity to bring an MLS franchise to Detroit, Cullen said, “You know, we’ll never rule anything else out, but that project is our critical focus.

“I learned a long time ago never to sort of make absolute statements, so let me just leave it that that’s where we’re focused.

“We’re confident that we’re going to be able to pull all this together.”

The meeting with the MLS is expected to take place in May or June. The city is one of 12 that are in the league’s expansion mix for this round.

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