Friday, March 21, 2014

How About a Piece of the Pontiac Silverdome? A Plastic Seat? A Urinal?

Pontiac, Michigan was established in 1818. GM created the Pontiac automobile in 1926. The Pontiac Superdome opened in 1975. All three have seen better times. The car died in 2010. The city received an Emergency Financial Manager in 2009. Dr. Jack Kevorkian, the “Doctor of Death” was born and educated in Pontiac. He survived the Emergency Financial Manager by two years. The Superdome entered death throes when the Detroit Lions abandoned the Superdome for Detroit in 2002. The Detroit Pistons left for Auburn Hills in 1988. The City is in better shape in Oakland County than its neighbor Detroit in Wayne County. Pontiac, the City, will survive. Pontiac, the Superdome is doomed. The city sold it at auction in 2009 to the Triple Investment Group for $583,000, or roughly 1% of its original construction cost of $55.7 million. Rumors are that the gas has been cut off for non-payment of the bill. Old arenas and stadiums get recycled today. The Silverdome witnessed epic moments and record crowds: The Papal Mass in 1987, Super Bowl XVI, 1987 WrestleMania, the 1994 Fifa World Cup, and the 1994 Michael Jackson Victory Tour. The days after the Lions left were not as good. The Jehovah Witnesses were meeting at the Silverdome for a few years, but they too moved on. An occasional Monster Truck Mash doesn’t pay the bills. Once upon a time old stadia were demolished or imploded with the rubble hauled away. Now though value is perceived in their furnishings. Sears were sold from the old Shea Stadium and the Astrodome. The Red So and Yankees annually sell seats. Sentimentality reigns. Fans want to seat in the arena and stadium seats from which they watched their heroes. The owners of the Silverdome want to restore it into a valuable venue. Maybe! The odds are against it. Even if they demolish the stadium, such as blowing it up on the 4th of July, the 127 acres will not be prime real estate in the greater Detroit market. In the meantime the owners have announced that they will be auctioning off anything movable in the stadium: the old turf, water faucets, lighting fixtures, seats, concession stands, scoreboards, end zone logos, the training room fiberglass pool, game clocks, any fixture, anything movable. The stadium had 80,300 seats, many weathered during a roof collapse. The auctioneer, RJM Auctions of Plymouth, Michigan, is seeking at least $100/chair, plastic chairs at that, plus another $30 for a certificate of authenticity. 80,300X$130 would yield over $10 million. Won’t happen. The long-suffering Lions fans are loyal. They have to be. The hapless Lions have a half-century record of futility. They are one of only 4 NFL teams not to be in the Super Bowl. Games are often blacked out. The Detroit went a perfect 0 – 16 in 2008. They lost their first regular season game in the Silverdome on October 6, 1975 to the Dallas Cowboys, 36-10, a harbinger of the future. They won the last game 15-10 on January 6, 2002 to the Cowboys, but that was an historical anomaly. There’s not much sentimental value in a Matt Millen Toilet or Wayne Fontes Urinal, certified or not.

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