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Future mapped out for Pistons former home

The ownership group of the Detroit Pistons has formed a joint venture with Michigan-based developer Schostak Brothers & Company that is set to lead to the demolition of the NBA basketball franchise’s former home arena.

The Pistons played at the Palace of Auburn Hills from 1988 through to 2017, when the team moved to its new midtown Little Caesars Arena. Certain team and business operations have remained at the Palace ahead of their move to the new Henry Ford Detroit Pistons Performance Center in Detroit, which is on schedule to be completed this autumn.

Pistons owner Tom Gores has partnered with Schostak Brothers in the new venture, with the latter to serve as the lead partner and manage the future mixed-use development, which is expected to include corporate office, research and development and technology companies. Financial terms were not disclosed.

“We promised the people of Auburn Hills and Oakland County that we would find a solution that would be good for the community and make a positive economic impact,” said Gores in a statement. “Partnering with a proven, well-respected developer like Schostak Brothers is an important step in delivering on that promise.”

The Palace received a $40m (£31.3m/€35.1m) renovation only a few years before it closed with a Bob Seger concert in September 2017. The Detroit Free Press newspaper said demolition is set to happen in the autumn although the method has yet to be determined, with a last-call public auction of Palace items, fixtures, equipment and memorabilia reportedly a possibility.

Gores said he retained a vested interest in the project because he believes strongly in the potential of the site, located on highly sought-after land in southeast Michigan, and the future of the region.

“Auburn Hills has been a great home to our franchise for a long time,” said Gores. “This investment will allow us to stay connected in a way that will create new opportunities for people who live and work in the area.”

Auburn Hills Mayor Kevin McDaniel has hailed the sale, and subsequent partnership between Schostak Brothers and the Pistons, as a ‘win-win-win’ for the City of Auburn Hills, its business community, and its residents.

“There has been great cooperation and collaboration with the Pistons organisation since the team announced it was moving to Detroit,” said McDaniel. “Recognising the probability that the property would not continue as an arena, an internal planning activity took place within the City to establish the highest and best use for the land.

“News of this joint venture with Schostak Brothers aligns with a future for the property that is beneficial to the city while fostering innovation and job creation.  We are enthusiastic about the redevelopment potential and what is expected to be an outcome that provides for future expansion of the City’s corporate business community.”

Image: Musco Lighting