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March 16, 2012
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!