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Detroit Columnist: 30 Years Isn't Long Enough for a Sports Arena to Stand

The short life of the Palace of Auburn Hills, once home to the NBA's Detroit Pistons, is a "colossal waste," according to John Gallagher.
July 7, 2019, 9am PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Detroit Pistons
Katherine Welles

John Gallagher isn't happy about the imminent demise of the Palace of Auburn Hills:

To spend $90 million in the 1980s to build the Palace (about $200 million in today’s dollars) and pour $40 million into upgrades and renovations not so long ago, and then to tear the whole thing down as its owner Tom Gores announced will happen soon — that’s not sustainability. It’s a waste of colossal dimensions.

Gallagher describes the current status of future plans for the Palace site, and notes that the new development is likely to be popular. "Steve Morris, managing principal with Axix Advisors, a Farmington Hills real estate firm, said the Palace site is well suited for a light industrial, high-tech research park. Add to that the strategic placement near I-75 and main roads and the switch from the Palace to a new use seems a no-brainer," writes Gallagher. Other recent development in the area has leased up quickly.

But development potential doesn't excuse, according to Gallagher's argument, the environmental waste of tearing down a massive building that only stood for 30 years. "It’s the architectural equivalent of single-use plastic straws and utensils. Use 'em and toss 'em." And the Palace isn't the only example of the practice in recent years.

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Published on Friday, July 5, 2019 in Detroit Free Press
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