NBA team owners propose $1 billion plan to attract U.S. pro soccer to Detroit

Wed Apr 27, 2016 7:43pm EDT
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DETROIT (Reuters) - Two professional basketball team owners on Wednesday announced a $1 billion investment plan to attract a Major League Soccer franchise to downtown Detroit in a move they said would help revitalize the city.

Dan Gilbert, the owner of the National Basketball Association's Cleveland Cavaliers, and Tom Gores, who owns the Detroit Pistons, proposed a 20,000-seat stadium on 15-acres that includes the site of the halted Wayne County jail, according to a spokeswoman for Gilbert and a statement.

The proposal includes plans for fitness facilities, an office tower, covered parking, a residential tower, open and covered plazas, a hotel, restaurants and retail, the statement said. The proposal also includes relocating the current Wayne County Jail, a circuit court and a county juvenile detention facility.

The plan was unveiled at a news conference by Gilbert and Pistons executive Arn Tellem, and officials said it is meant to help revitalize downtown Detroit.

The city of Detroit exited the biggest-ever U.S. municipal bankruptcy in December 2014.

However, Wayne County Executive Warren Evans said in a statement that he wanted to see a proposal that would not cost the taxpayers any extra money or delay the opening of the unfinished jail.

"My priority is protecting the interests of Wayne County taxpayers," he said in a statement. "Right now, finishing the Gratiot jail is the best option for quickly and cost-effectively building the new jail Wayne County needs."

On Tuesday, Gores, chief executive of private equity firm Platinum Equity and a Flint, Michigan, native, and Gilbert, a Detroit native and chairman of mortgage lender Quicken Loans, announced they were teaming up to bring an MLS team to downtown Detroit.

The effort is supported by MLS Commissioner Don Garber, who was present at the Wednesday news conference and recently said the league would expand to 28 teams.   Continued...

May 26, 2015; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert celebrates with the Eastern Conference trophy after beating the Atlanta Hawks in game four of the Eastern Conference Finals of the NBA Playoffs at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports