With the decision by Wayne County to discuss a move of a half-finished jail to make way for new Detroit MLS stadium, Commissioner Don Garber includes the Motor City bid among the four leaders to land out an MLS expansion team.
Also singled out for praise by Garber: Sacramento, Cincinnati and Nashville. This tracks with our most recent ranking of MLS expansion prospects, where we also listed Sacramento, Cincinnati, Detroit and Nashville as the top four leading contenders to land an MLS expansion franchise.
Led by Tom Gores and Dan Gilbert, Detroit’s MLS expansion bid includes a proposal for a new stadium and surrounding development in the city’s downtown, on Gratiot Avenue near Interstate 375. The location that is being eyed for the project is currently occupied by an unfinished jail, prompting Gilbert’s Rock Ventures to make an offer to the county. Under the terms of that agreement, the county would receive a new penitentiary as part of a criminal complex near Interstate 75, clearing the way for the downtown location to be used for a 23,000-seat stadium and other amenities. In an announcement issued on Monday, Wayne County executive Warren Evans said that he is instructing his team to pursue an agreement with Rock Ventures.
In a series of interviews leading up to last night’s MLS All-Star Game, Garber specifically singled out Detroit, Sacramento, Cincinnati and Nashville for praise. From the Detroit News:
“There are four that over the last couple of months have been really very energized,” Garber said in his pre-All-Star Game news conference. “We’re not ranking markets.”
“Detroit just got one step closer to having access to the jail site,” said Garber, “the preferred site for an MLS expansion team.”
Now, we are many months from any decision being made on MLS expansion in 2019 and 2020 at the earliest, and while the specific MLS expansion schedule isn’t set in stone, the expectation is that two teams could be announced before the end of 2017 and two more next year. But we are approaching crunch time, and we’re seeing what bids are real and which are pipe dreams. The St. Louis and Indianapolis bids are basically dead, and Charlotte is on life support after Mecklenburg County’s decision to pull funding.
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