Detroit Stadium Backers Expect to Meet with MLS This Spring

Proposed Detroit MLS stadium

As Tom Gores and Dan Gilbert continue their pitch for a stadium in Detroit, officials expect the MLS expansion committee to meet with the group this spring.

Gores and Gilbert have been pushing to develop the stadium on Gratriot Avenue, at a parcel that features an unfinished jail that has been stalled since 2013. Wayne County has made it clear that it wants to resume jail construction at some point, so Gilbert and his Rock Ventures submitted an offer to acquire the property.

The offer would see Rock Ventures construct an estimated $420 million criminal justice complex off of East Forrest Drive while receiving $300 million from the county, the Gratriot Avenue site, and credit to be paid for savings generated by complex. That proposal, which was submitted in February, is being reviewed by the county.

At this point, officials behind the plan hope that, with the coming months, they are able to present the MLS with a proposal that includes solidified details. According to Arn Tellem, vice chairman of the Gores-owned Palace Sports and Entertainment, that meeting could be in May or June. More from the Detroit Free Press:

“Our expectation is that we’re going to be meeting with the expansion committee, probably in the late spring, in May or June,” Tellem responded to a Free Press question before the start of the Crain’s Newsmaker of the Year luncheon honoring Detroit Pistons owner Tom Gores.

“And our hope is to be prepared and put our best foot forward by then, and to have things solidified by then.”

Gores and fellow NBA owner and Quicken Loans chairman Dan Gilbert are leading Detroit’s bid for a soccer franchise, one of 12 cities to submit an expansion application to join MLS.

Gores today was asked about whether Gilbert could secure the jail site with his offer to buy it from Wayne County and build the 23,000-seat stadium.

“I think that’s up to Dan,” he said. “I wouldn’t doubt him.”

Cities in the expansion mix are going to have to spend the next few months ironing out some details. More information on proposals in Phoenix and San Diego has emerged in recent weeks, while St. Louis’ status should be clearer after an April referendum.

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