Pontiac Silverdome finally blown up, more or less

The Pontiac Silverdome is down. Repeat: The Pontiac Silverdome is down.

Demolition company president Richard Adamo said his company “couldn’t find the cords we believe were severed” that foiled the previous demolition attempt, so they decided to “reload the building the shoot it again.” Which presumably means workers had to go back inside a stadium that was teetering on the brink of collapse to load it up with more explosives — that’s the video that I want to see.

(Also, it looks to me like this explosion only knocked down the top half of the upper deck. Enh, good enough for government work.)

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Pontiac Silverdome does not get blowed up real good at all

You know, let’s just watch and enjoy this first:

Yes, they tried to blow up the Pontiac Silverdome yesterday and failed. According to the demolition contractor as recounted by the Detroit Free Press, “roughly 10% of the explosive charges did not detonate due to a wiring issue.” Now they’ll have to either figure out a way to detonate those charges at a later date — which presumably wold mean fixing wiring in a building that’s on the verge off collapse, which doesn’t sound like a great idea — or taking a more traditional wrecking-ball approach, which also doesn’t sound great but is at least preferable.

And if that’s not enough fun for one morning, here’s the owner of a drone video company telling the Free Press why he hates filming building demolitions:

“It sounds like lobsters being put in a boiling pot, the steel lets out a high-pitched scream,” he said. “It’s definitely sad.”

Stadiums marked for death scream like lobsters being boiled alive! Happy nightmares, everybody.

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Friday roundup: Austin MLS vote, Rays demand $650m in subsidies, Islanders renderings, more!

I’m busy trying to figure out whether Congress is really going to rewrite the tax code to give a couple of trillion dollars to rich people or will melt down at the last second like it did with healthcare repeal, so this’ll be in superbrief mode this morning:

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Pontiac Silverdome runs out of lives, to be razed next spring

Looks like there won’t be any more crazy stories about the Pontiac Silverdome’s crazy owner wanting to use it for professional polo tournaments, as the now-domeless dome has finally been marked for demolition:

“It is going to come down,” said Kristie King, a Southfield-based broker with CBRE, which is marketing the Silverdome property for its private owner, the Triple Investment Group. “We will probably start the demolition process in the spring.”

The idea is that the site will be worth more for redevelopment without a decrepit stadium on it, which will almost certainly be true even if it’s not worth much. It’s another reminder that stadiums are effectively worthless without a team to play in them, which should give pause to city officials counting “ownership of the stadium at the end of the team’s lease” as a public asset, though it probably won’t.

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In America, we build things then tear them down then get sad about the ruins

It’s stadium demolition porn day at Deadspin, with photos of the ruins of Candlestick Park and a link to not-actually-all-that-new-but-still-cool photos of the ruins of the Pontiac Silverdome. They are sad and oddly beautiful.

Since we’re on the subject, one piece of the stadium debate that seldom comes up is that of waste. Not waste of money — that comes up all the time, of course — but waste of resources, of labor power, or energy, of carbon footprint, of all the stuff that you use more of by tearing down an existing building and erecting a new one. Not that nobody should ever build anything — and I’ll happily admit that the San Francisco Giants‘ new stadium is an awful lot nicer than the ‘Stick, for example — but there’s a predisposition in American political culture in particular to think of new development only for the jobs and economic activity it creates, without wondering if constantly building structures and then tearing them down again is the most efficient way to run a society.

Anyway, lookit the pretty pictures, but allow yourself a moment to think about the cost of constant upgrades to people’s sports experience, when it even can be considered an upgrade. Had your moment yet? Okay, we’re done.

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After a year without a roof, the Pontiac Silverdome is even more of a wreck

WDIV in Detroit checked in on the Pontiac Silverdome yesterday to see how it’s doing since its inflatable roof started tearing, and yikes:

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Warning: Graphic images not only of a trashed stadium, but of a man wearing a plastic blue lion head hat and lion sunglasses.

The Silverdome’s bizarro owner is auctioning off what’s left of it, which may help him recoup the $583,000 purchase price he paid for it back in 2009. Seats from the stadium, only slightly damp, are available for sale now; if you want a Zamboni or a urinal, you’ll have to wait till May 21.

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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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Silverdome owner seeking tax break to pay for renovations to empty stadium

Looks like we finally have the answer to the question of what the guy who bought the Pontiac Silverdome two years ago was thinking, and it’s “have taxpayers bail me out so I can renovate the place“:

The owner of the Pontiac Silverdome seeks a five-year freeze on property tax payments so the firm can afford a multimillion-dollar upgrade of the empty stadium that is still struggling 10 years after the Detroit Lions left.

Toronto-based Triple Properties wants the tax abatement to help finance a proposed overhaul of the 37-year-old, 80,000-seat domed stadium, a lobbyist for the company said Wednesday.

To be fair, the amount that Silverdome owner Andreas Apostolopoulos is asking for isn’t much: Current property taxes on the place only amount to $80,000 a year, so a five-year freeze isn’t likely to get very far into the six digits, if that much. Though the renovations would be pretty minor, too, costing maybe $4 million and including such decidedly unsexy items as new drainage systems and emergency exits.

In any event, it looks like Apostopoulos is unlikely to get his tax break, as Pontiac emergency manager Lou Schimmel — in case you missed it, half of Michigan local government is now run by these unelected political appointees — just about laughed off the request at a hearing yesterday, snorting, “I thought you were going to make it hard for me. I thought you were going to come in here with a very sophisticated presentation with elaborate drawings about something.” D’oh, Apostopoulos forgot the clear plastic binder!

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Silverdome owner knows these guys, see

The possibly crazy guy who bought the Pontiac Silverdome last year for $583,000 has given his first interview on the subject of what he plans to do with his new inflatable toy, and he sounds, well, possibly crazy — even after accounting for his speaking in stereotypically broken English. Take it away, Andreas Apostolopoulos:

“We’re gonna spend a lot of money here, create a lot of jobs, meet a lot of new people. It’s not for sale, and it’s never gonna be for sale. … When I seen it, I like it. I knew there was a lotta work to be done. But work doesn’t scare me, you know?”

Apostolopoulos says he’s been approached to use the Silverdome, which costs $1.5 million to maintain even when idle, for events like horse racing, polo, and soccer. The people behind these proposals were described by Apostolopoulos as “some guy” and “another guy.” Though they already have monster trucks lined up, so maybe tomorrow it’ll be major league polo. Or monster truck polo!

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New Silverdome owner: Anybody got a ball?

The new owner of the Pontiac Silverdome has gone public with his plans for the vacant 80,000-seat facility:

“I like sports and I like being involved with sports, so I hope to bring sporting events people will like,” Andreas Apostolopoulos, chief executive officer of the Toronto-based Triple Properties Inc., said Wednesday. “I’m not just thinking soccer, but football or baseball or whatever.”

This at least explains why Apostolopoulos previously said he’d be putting an MLS franchise in the dome, when MLS has a stated distaste for oversized venues: He has no idea what he’s talking about. Though for a purchase price of $583,000 — I wasn’t the only one to note that this is cheaper than some apartments — he can afford to buy first, and figure out what he’s doing later.

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