Silverdome owners on roof collapse: Oh yeah, we meant to do that

Time to check in on the Pontiac Silverdome, onetime home of the Detroit Lions, and more recently sold for $583,000 to a guy who says he’ll maybe use it for horse racing and polo and who asked for a five-year freeze on property taxes so he can renovate the place. How’s he been taking care of the place in the meantime?

WXYZ-TV, which shot the above photo, reports that Silverdome officials say that “since they let the air out the roof has been tearing because of the wind and snow. They also say they expected tearing to happen.” The Detroit Free Press says the building’s owners plan on replacing the fabric roof with a fixed roof this summer anyway — one “with solar panels,” according to an earlier report in the Detroit News — but given the mammoth cost of building a new roof, especially on top of a structure that was never designed to hold a fixed roof, color me skeptical. If any Detroit-area journalists are reading this, could you maybe call these guys and ask the followup question: “Wait, are you serious?”

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13 comments on “Silverdome owners on roof collapse: Oh yeah, we meant to do that

  1. Not to mention that leaving the interior of the stadium open to the elements like that can’t be good for it.

  2. They’re probably planning on replacing all the seats, too. With seats made of *platinum*. Yeah, that’s right…

  3. I always picture anything this Silverdome owner guy says as being said by Jon Lovitz’s ‘Tommy Flanagan’ character “Yeah…that’s the ticket!”

  4. Oh gee, a slumlord in Detroit. How very novel. Oh gee, a stadium in disrepair in Detroit. How very unusual.

  5. Maybe I’m reading too much into it but when he says “fixed” roof I think he means a roof that’s “fixed”. Also an entirely “fixed” infrastructure due to two more months of snow/freeze/thaw action.

  6. I’ve never been to Detroit so I’ll ask –

    Is there anything they can do with this place?

    Was it even a very good stadium when the Lions did play there?

  7. This does answer the question of what a NFL stadium is worth after 30-35 years. Not even as much as my tract home in Santa Clara.

  8. I live about 5 miles from this place and worked there for years before the lions played there. A fact is that the place was built to be an outdoor field but when Ford Sr. saw how cold it is here in Michigan he said put a roof on it. This place was and still is the best place ! LONG LIVE THE DOME!!!!

  9. The silverdome was a fine stadium when the lions were there but I have no idea what this guy is trying to accomplish.

  10. Andrew — The Silverdome had good sight lines in the day, but it was largest building in the NFL, which contributed to a ton of local blackouts. Ford Field is about 1/4 smaller, and in downtown Detroit. The Silverdome was owned by Pontiac, in the middle of Oakland County, which is home to most of the area’s wealth. The stadium, however, stands all by itself. There’s nothing else to walk to nearby…you’d go to the game, then leave. The new owner is from Toronto (please watch the stereotypes, MartyF), and pitched an idea to take the roof off and split it horizontally, with the top for open-air MLS, and a theatre AND an arena beneath the field (link to story: There is nowhere near the demand for those venues in the market, and now that I read above that a new fixed(?!) roof is supposedly on tap, it sounds like, even for that bargain basement price, the plan may be going sideways.

  11. The Silverdome is a relic of years gone past, in the same genre as Tiger Stadium, Cleveland Stadium, et al. Too many seats for the great unwashed, not enough premium amenities for the moneyed class (read: ways to squeeze more money out of people). It was not well maintained before the sale, either; the city of Pontiac government is a circus (think Detroit on a smaller scale), and there was no accountability for the upkeep. The city’s inflexibility on what the NFL called the worst lease agreement in the league (the team received ticket revenue, minus a small fee, and souvenir sales; no parking fees, no concessions) and the consistent TV blackouts spelled the end of the Lions’ time in the Silverdome. Thing is, if they had put even a mediocre team on the field, the place would have been sold out for every game, and they might still be there.

    I’ve been there twice in the last year; my son is in the marching band in a local high school, and they were in a competition at the stadium this fall, as well as renting the big facility for rehearsal in November. With the conditions I witnessed, I don’t hold out a lot of hope for the big plans that the owners are trumpeting. There’s no heat in the building (except for a couple of units tied into the corner where the Pistons used to play), which isn’t a problem with 80,000 people. For less than 3,000, or the 200 there for rehearsal, it was colder inside than outside. Rumor has it that the gas has been shut off for non payment of a $250,000 bill; one person said they actually followed the smell of gas to a pipe where someone had purposely (and illegally) bypassed the shutoff valve.

  12. Okay, Canadian pays over $500K for an unused football stadium in the boonies and we are suppose to believe that he is prepared to spend millions to install a “fixed roof” on a stadium that he paid $500K for. C’mon, this is a fairytale that is going to disappoint a lot of clueless people. Detroit has Ford Field and the majority of events are avoiding the Pontiac Silverdome because we got Ford Field. The Silverdome has had its day but that time has passed.

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