Tag Archives: Pontiac Silverdome

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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ORC approves more dates for Pinnacle, fewer for MPM

I’m a little behind on this story, but if you haven’t seen it, it’s new to you.

Anyway, on October 31, the Michigan Office of Racing Commissioner issued race dates for the state’s seven racetracks. Because my focus is on Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse racing, we will take a look at two tracks in particular…

After conducting an abbreviated meet in its inaugural year due to construction, Pinnacle Race Course is slated to run 82 live dates in 2009. Opening day at the Detroit-area racetrack will be June 5, with getaway day scheduled for October 24. The track will continue with its four days a week setup, hosting live races on Tuesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. 

Mount Pleasant Meadows saw a major drop in race dates for the 2009 meet, going from 57 days in 2008 to 37 next year. However, it must be noted that Mount Pleasant declined to utilize all of its allotted dates this year. After originally being scheduled for three days of live racing per week, the track ended up running on its usual Saturdays and Sundays, sometimes only scheduling one card per week. Though I have no official statements to back this up, it appears the additional dates were intended to make up for the days lost while Pinnacle was under construction. The track will continue running most Saturdays and Sundays, excluding three days for the Isabella County Fair. Racing will begin on Kentucky Derby day, May 2, and conclude on September 27.

The ORC also denied an application for live racing dates from Silver Stallion Development Corporation to supposedly host races inside or in the vicinity of the Pontiac Silverdome. I had heard some rumblings about this venture in the past, but figured it was nothing but a pipe dream. From the looks of it, Silver Stallion applied for 110 race dates. With Pinnacle still in its early stages, giving the track competition so close to home would be a pretty horrible idea. Besides, in the current state of racing, Michigan can barely support one thoroughbred-exclusive racetrack, much less two in the same city.

However, the fact that this Silver Stallion group seems to have its act together enough to start asking for dates is somewhat intriguing. I will have to do a little research on this company and their plans. If I find anything interesting, you’ll find it here first. Actually, being as though business has come to a screeching halt since Pinnacle called it a meet, I will probably put some information up regardless of whether it is interesting or not. Keep your eyes open.

Sources:
Michigan Racing Commissioner issues 2009 Thoroughbred horse racing schedule
Michigan Racing Commissioner issues 2009 mixed breed racing schedule
ORC Racing News: September 2008

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Filed under Mount Pleasant Meadows, Pinnacle Race Course