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Is This It? It Feels Like It

Tipping point? Game changer? Yes and yes.

Gimmie your thoughts on the unofficial/official news that Mike Illitch is buying the Detroit Pistons -- and that he is moving the team to Detroit. It's well known that people (read: the Illitch family) have been buying up land around certain parts of the city. Could this be the long-awaited "thing" that helps bring people downtown to live? to work? to entertain themselves all year-around?

Here's my favorite quote from The Detroit News on the subject:

“We continue to be excited about the possibility of the Detroit Pistons returning to Detroit, which is nationally recognized as a destination for professional sports. The deal is not done, but we remain optimistic,” said a statement released by the office of Mayor Dave Bing, himself a former NBA player.

“This is more than about a sale from one family to another,” City Council President Charles Pugh said. “This is about the revitalization of Detroit. This is the tipping point for our city. We need jobs, hope (and) to get rid of the frustration of some people calling them the Auburn Hills Pistons. The Detroit Pistons need to be here. The Ilitches are the only family in the country that should have bought the Pistons.”

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  • 1

    What is so wonderful and fascinating is that when virtually everyone was leaving Detroit because they saw no hope, the Illiches did. And they have made a go of it in so many venues.

    Detroit owes an awful lot to them.


  • 2

    I agree; it seems like the tipping point. But, watch out when the Libs come screaming out of the crazygrass screaming Monopoly! Profits! [God forbid] Control !, Maniuplation ! and all the rest their incomprehensible thought processes, because if that happens, this will tip back in their laps, and they will get to mire in their own do-do.

  • 3

    The Ilitches' are the best people to by the Pistons'. They're loyalty to the city is sincere and I know they will find a way to have both the Pistons and the Red Wings downtown!

  • 4

    Sounds like déjà vu to me. Not to be a Debbie Downer, but weren't these also touted as the virtues for moving the Tigers from Corktown and bringing the Lions back from Pontiac? This is not to say that the Pistons shouldn't be welcomed downtown, but I'm a skeptic that this alone will be a tipping point for the city.

    Personally, I think the signs of a tipping point are in businesses consolidating downtown as well as all the interest from Hollywood. But a true tipping point won't come until Detroit fixes its horrid transit system. There is no World Class city on Earth that doesn't have a world class transit system.

    • 4.1

      Why worry about a "world class" transit system? Why not have instead a "Detroit class" transit system and not one that tries to mimic other places? Let's first work with what we have and let it evolve over time to serve us and OUR needs. Who cares if it looks like Portland or Chicago? I have an idea where we can begin:

      Picture the People Mover as it moves north from the RenCen up Beaubien through Greektown. Instead of having it bend awkwardly left and loop behind the Y, have it continue north, jog over one block to Brush and proceed past the Music hall and between Ford Field and Comerica Park to Montcalm. Put a new station at the open space next to the District Court building at Madison and another on Montcalm at Witherell. The area between Montcalm and I-75 could become more parking decks similar to the deck next to Comerica. Then it could head west on Montcalm all the way over to Cass which is likely to be the east side of the new arena. Design a station as part of the new arena. Proceed south on Cass to the point it catches back up to its original route.( If you look at Google maps, plug in the new arena between Cass and Grand River, it seems to make sense visually)

      The city has many of the component parts necessary for a genuine urban center but the problem has been that they are not connected nor have they been concieved of as a whole composition. Stuffing parking into the center only serves to make it hostile to pedestrians and uses potentially valuable land for cars. The synergy that could be created by literally connecting things and pushing the parking to the perimeter could be the real tipping point. Good urban design is all about connections.

    • 4.2

      @napper1: Detroit already has a Detroit Class transit system. It's not very efficient, and certainly not impressive. The point isn't to mimic other places, the point is to provide options for residents and visitors to get from point A to point B that don't require them to constantly be tethered to a 2 ton hunk of steel and glass.

  • 5

    I'm not sure if this move is a "tipping point" but what it does is to show other business people that Detroit is a good place to do business and it is possible to make money by locating businesses in the city. The Illich family has the courage of their collective convictions to actually do something while other so-called entreprenuers sit on the sidelines and merely blab about what needs to be done before they'll jump in. The Illich family has jumped and made the committment to MAKE things happen, not just wait for someone else to do it. They are making money and that is a good thing for them and a good thing for all of us. They've never asked for favors or special treatment from the city and have always been committed to creating first class venues. They are deserving of all the praise they get.

    Now the question is who else out there besides Roger Penske, Bill Ford and Pete Karmanos has the guts to get on board?

  • 6

    Bank on it. Mike Ilitch is our Superman. I can see all kinds of things coming out of this. Why not season tickets which encompass admission to Pistons, Tigers and Red Wings? A little of each instead of all or nothing. Something similar to the Detroit Passport to the Arts which has been a big success where you pay one price and attend Detroit Film Theatre, Detroit Opera House, Hillberry, etc. Rock on Mike. You are a gem. Yes, you're a businessman but you love Detroit just like Mayor Bing does. Bless you boys

  • 7

    @iheartthed: World-class transit is a bit of a misnomer. Berlin, London, Madrid, Hong Kong...all world-class cities with world-class transit that runs efficiently and is soundly managed. San Francisco, Seattle, Los Angeles, on the other hand....they have some work to do.

    Let's do this in baby steps: Detroit needs SOME form of transit before it can become world-class. But perhaps we're just talking semantics here -- I still don't believe Detroit has any form of transit because it doesn't effectively replace alternative forms of getting around.

    • 7.1

      I've never been to San Francisco, but I've always heard that the transit system was good. At least good enough to get around conveniently without needing to own a car.

      I've never been to Seattle either, and while I'm sure it is a great place, it probably isn't what I would consider World Class. Detroit's high watermark of being an influential urban center is well above that of Seattle, IMO.

      Los Angeles -- a city I've visited several times -- is the only exception to the World Class rule that comes to mind. And even Los Angeles, which was built to be a more car-centric city than Detroit was originally built to be, has transit options that are light-years of the Detroit area.

  • 8

    I think it will be great that finally Detroiters will have better access to the Pistons games. We all know of the lack of suburb to urban mass transit, and I think while the Palace of Auburn Hills is a beautiful facility, it is too isolated and speaks more to the urban sprawl Detroit history than to the current mode of condensing and bring life and business back into downtown. I don't think this will by any means be "the turning point" as far as rejuvenation, but we can't look for a single moment to be the turning point, but a series of moments created by true Detroit stake holders like the Illitch family.

    I will be curious to see where the new facility would be located, and what I guess I am hoping for is a collaboration between developers AND THE COMMUNITY as far as the plan that makes the most sense. In the past I think developers made the mistake of thinking too much in the now and not making strides to work with the community as far as planning and then they end up shoving their own plan down a community's throat.

    I will hope that this means better facility management. I had a terrible experience at the last Piston's game I went to where there were 3 incidents in a single game that occurred in my vicinity where drunk fans started fighting, one including a fight in the parking lot between fans and these total strangers ended up tackling each other into the hood of my car, leaving a huge dent. When they realized what had happened they ran off and there were no security or police around to report to, so I ended up having to pay for the damage myself. When I called the facility managers to report this incident, they kept transferring me to different people and in the end wouldn't respond to my calls.

  • 9

    The Illich's company has been buying up land west of the Fox Theatre for years so it's no secret where the new arena will go. As a matter of fact, there have been various design scheemes done for the arena and I wouldn't be surprised if final design drawings and maybe even construction documents are being done now. I also won't be surprised when Mr. I announces that he'll finance it himself with no public money or bonds involved. He's been through that wringer before with Comerica and I suspect he doesn't have the time or the patience to deal with it again. So much the better for will get done faster and without all the political strings attached that can extend the developement out for years.

    The City Planning Department has unofficially designated the area from Grand River east to Gratiot and north of Adams to the Freeway as a sports/entertainment district and has a master plan for the entire district already in place. The city itself is on board, Mr. Illich already knows what he's going to do, so let's just sit back and watch as things come together faster than we'd imagined.

    MGM Grand Casino and Hotel was built in less than 30 months, from an empty lot to opening night so it can be done. Mr. Illich is the one guy who can make it happen, too. This is going to be exiting!

  • 10

    Just as long he does not get any tax money. He is free to spend his own money anyway he wants. Stay out of my pocket.

  • 11

    I don't think it's a tipping point....I think Detroit will survive with or without the Pistons playing downtown. Having said that, I do hope they end up there, it would be nice to have them back in the city.
    I've always hoped for a new, old-fashioned hockey arena, one patterned after the Olympia, only bigger, but with the economy like it is I think that idea is a pipe dream. Not so crazy on the idea of a joint arena for the Wings and Pistons, but that might be the only answer.

  • 12

    As they say in Hockey-Talk..."...Full marks ... " to Mr. @ Mrs. Ilitch for Just gettin''er done!...Sometimes Ya' just gooda Take matters into your OWN Hands! ...Is this THE NEW GORDIE HOWE Hat-Trick?

  • 13

    [...] since we all love our Detroit Pistons, I want all my fellow Detroit Lions football fans to check out detroit.blogs.time and tell me what you think about[...]

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