Pontiac Silverdome sold…Or is it?

The Daily Tribune (Oakland County) and Michigan Messenger report Adreas Apostolopoulos, a Toronto-based businessman representing Triple Properties Inc., purchased the Pontiac Silverdome in a Monday auction.

The City of Pontiac sold the former home of the National Football League’s Detroit Lions for the winning bid of $583,000. The group has 45 days to close the deal. Future plans for the Silverdome involve using the venue for men’s and women’s professional soccer franchises. Indoor professional soccer is still more watchable than the Lions.

The Tribune reports the city has turned down bids between $17 million and $22 million in the past. Quite the drop from there to just over a half-million.

What does any of this have to do with horse racing you may ask?

The Silverdome’s connection to the racing industry is twofold.

First, the construction and repair of the Silverdome was partially bankrolled by a subsidy from the Michigan Agriculture Equine Development Fund, the source of the state’s racing industry development programs including breeder’s awards and Sire Stakes purses. The fund provided $800,000 per year from 1974 to 1990, then $726,400 in 1991 before the subsidy was discontinued by the state.

Using these figures, the racing industry kicked in approximately $13,526,400 over the 17 years of the subsidy to build and maintain the Silverdome. The funding was ended when it was decided the money was going toward operational expenses instead of building costs.

The second connection may also end up being the reason the Silverdome won’t be hosting soccer games anytime soon.

Crain’s Detroit Business reports an Oakland County judge has ordered an injunction halting the sale to the Toronto group because another party claims to already have an agreement in place with the city.

Civil rights attorney H. Wallace Parker, also president and CEO of Silver Stallion Development Corp., filed the complaint leading to the injunction on the grounds the sale violated a prior agreement with the city to purchase the property.

The Pontiac City Council approved the purchase of the Silverdome by Silver Stallion Development in July 2008 for $20 million, later reduced to $17 million. However, the purchase was vetoed by the city’s mayor when he deemed Parker unable to pay for he project – a claim Parker denies, though Crain’s reports he never produced the money to pay for the bid.

According to Crain’s, Parker intended to develop the area into a $250 million entertainment venue, Thoroughbred racetrack and equine research facility. Silver Stallion Development applied for race dates at the Silverdome with the Office of Racing Commissioner for 2009, but the request was denied. It is unclear whether the proposed racetrack would involve leveling the Silverdome itself, but it is hard to imagine racing going on inside the structure.

Regardless of the outcome, it is fascinating to see how the racing industry touches businesses far away from the racetrack.

UPDATE: Here is another informative article from the Michigan Messenger on the Silverdome auction, identifying the winning bidder and and offering further information on the key players in this story. Apparently someone wanted to buy the property to use as a landfill(!).

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6 Comments

Filed under Politics

6 responses to “Pontiac Silverdome sold…Or is it?

  1. Longshot

    Well here is the real story behind this man H. Wallace Parker and who is in his ear constantly about putting up a new track there. Our infamous nut case trainer of the Mi. TB business. Tom Beaudoin

    Tom was barred from ALL tracks in Mi. by the ORC in 2000. Then fired from Fruit-port Township. And it was Bob Miller and several others who told me why. Tom was caught tampering with the Jockey Scale in the middle of the night. Why? Who knows, loony tunes doesn’t know why he does half the things he does.

    http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-64784839.html

    RESIGNED??? in this next article A Joke!

    http://www.thoroughbredtimes.com/national-news/2000/December/17/Great-Lakes-executive-resigns.aspx

    Tom was actually responsible for fighting to get
    Great Lakes Downs for TB racing in 1999. But from that point on Beaudoin went nuts. He gets a job with Fruitport Twnshp. then gets caught in the middle of the night tampering with the Jockey scales. Crazy.

    Anyway, in Tom Beaudoin fashion he went to suing everyone. Something Tom is great at. Several of Tom’s owners and friends over the years always said Tom should of been a lawyer. Hell he researched and wrote depositions better than the Lawyers with degrees. He got fined and ruled off DRC many times throughout his career. Actually pulled Tommy Joseph off his horse once after a race at DRC and beat the living crap out of him right there on the track, because he thought Tommy gave him a bad ride. Joseph sued him for $20,000 and won. ORC fined him thousands and barred him for I don’t know how long.

    In reality Tom is a very like-able man, I worked for him in 95 along with another trainer at the same time. Can you imagine Don Lovell and Tom Beaudoin at once! I’m lucky after that meet they didn’t put me in a straight jacket.

    Tom can be one of the nicest people, his method of training was to leave a horse on the walking wheel for 6 hours while he played cards in the kitchen. Hell middle of the summer 100 degrees out. Hey, no big deal. In reality he would forget about the poor horse until somebody came into the kitchen and told him his horse was now passed out with machine running.

    We got a lot of wins in 95. But his temper has always got the best of him. But since the incident at Great Lakes. He’s been in H. Wallace Parker ears doing his best to get another track built to destroy Pinnacle’s business and Thoroughbred Racing in Mi. in general. He’s a KOOK.

    He was King for a moment after getting Great Lakes Downs licensed and approved for racing days, but soon after DETHRONED! Now he wants REVENGE.

    Saw him this last meet and he told me, ME and MY Friend are going to turn the Silverdome into a racetrack. My remark, come on Tom give me a break here. Tom knows one thing and one thing only. VENGENCE.

    Doesn’t matter how many he hurts. Beaudoin feels he was s**t on by the horseman after all he had done for them.

    I guarantee a horse will never see Pontiac. So H. Wallace Parker and his friend Tom Beaudoin can whistle Dixie, but no horses will ever run home there at the Silverdome.

  2. Great info Longshot, I don’t know the who’s and why’s behind the Silverdome idea, but I do know that metro Detroit and Michigan can barely support (finacially and bloodstock) one race track, what makes anybody think two will work.

  3. ahorseofadifferentcolor

    Great piece of journalism Joe!
    Thank you!
    Also, noticed there is a changing of the guard of HBPA officers. With the absence of Ronnie Allen Sr., one cannot help but wonder if this is indicative of what is to be for the Allen/Campbell barn.

  4. mibredclaimer

    Longshot,
    Very interesting. Not much has been written about Silver Stallion (believe me, I’ve looked), so this shed a lot of light on its background and motivations. Between this and the post on your blog, you’re on fire!

    Bill,
    The only way the Silverdome racetrack idea might have even a remote chance of working is if they work a circuit schedule. Even then, having both parts of the circuit in the same area of the state might burn people out.

    ahorseofadifferentcolor,
    Thanks! I saw that too. This marks the second trainer this year with a presence at Presque Isle Downs to have lost/resigned their spot on the HBPA board.

  5. Longshot

    I added even more to that last blog Joe. And if I find even more, I’ll add that too!

  6. Longshot

    AND IT’S ” SOCCER ” BY 100 LENGTHS!

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB125903125547961739.html

    This judge paid about as much attention to H. Wallace as the ORC did.

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