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Here’s what Detroit basketball will look like in Detroit

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Welcome back, Pistons

Michelle and Chris Gerard

After months of chatter, rumors, and speculation, Tom Gores, Chris Ilitch, and Mayor Mike Duggan formally announced that the Detroit Pistons will be playing in Little Caesars Arena starting in the 2017 season.

Quite a few things were talked about in the press conference today.

  • Starting next fall, all four Detroit sports teams will play within a few blocks of each other.
  • It’s the first time in over four decades that all four Detroit sports teams will play in the city.
  • The Pistons will need to build a practice facility and headquarters, but they do not have a location for them yet.
  • The Palace? It could be redeveloped or demolished. There are no clear plans yet.
  • Both sides are (of course) seeing this as a win for both Detroit and Auburn Hills. Detroit will get more jobs (over 1,700 in construction, 442 permanent) and the redevelopment of that area in Auburn Hills could bring more jobs to that community, they think.
  • NBA Commissioner Adam Silver was there, and there was a lot of excitement about the deal and possibility that an All-Star game could come here.
  • Everything isn’t completely final yet. According to the statement, “The Pistons’ move is subject to approval by the NBA, and is expected to be presented to the league’s Board of Governors sometime after the first of the year. Between now and then, formal legal agreements will need to be finalized, including an arena sub-concession and various other agreements between PS&E, the Ilitch organization and the City of Detroit Downtown Development Authority.”
  • There will be a community benefits side, as the Pistons are seeking $34.5 million to modify the arena, which is being built for hockey, for basketball. The DDA approved this in a meeting beforehand, but according to Mayor Mike Duggan at the press conference, it needs to go through approval in the city council during the first quarter of 2017.

According to a joint statement on the move,

“It is estimated that at least 50 percent of the DDA contribution will come from savings generated through a refinancing of the existing Tax Increment Revenue bonds issued by the State in 2014 to partially fund Little Caesars Arena. The remainder of the DDA contribution will be captured by extending the term of these bonds by an additional three years. No City of Detroit general funds will be used.

Following DDA approval of the agreement, the DDA board, Detroit City Council and Michigan Strategic Fund board will be asked to approve the amended tax increment plan to support the proposed refinancing.”

For this community benefits agreement, here are the 10 points the Pistons must agree to:

1. Invest $2,500,000 over six years in the construction, renovation and refurbishment of more than 60 basketball courts in parks throughout the City of Detroit in partnership with the City of Detroit’s Recreation department.

2. Employment of at least 51% Detroit residents on the construction of the Practice Facility.

3. Awarding of at least 30% of the value of all construction contracts related to the Practice Facility to Detroit-based companies.

4. Use commercially reasonable efforts to maximize post-construction employment opportunities with PS&E for City Residents.

5. Support workforce development initiatives for City Residents by donating $100,000 to Detroit Employment Solutions Corporation.

6. Partner with the Mayor’s Office to provide mentorship opportunities for young City Residents.

7. Participate in the Grow Detroit’s Young Talent summer jobs program.

8. Host free youth basketball camps, clinics, and other events for City Residents to promote youth basketball and youth enrichment programs in the City.

9. Provide 20,000 free tickets per regular season to Detroit youth and residents to attend NBA basketball games, in support of and in connection with community educational programs and initiatives.

10. Appoint and maintain a liaison to meet, communicate, and engage regularly with the existing Little Caesars Arena Neighborhood Advisory Committee or, with respect to the practice facility, if necessary any other committee created by the City for purposes of engaging local residents, consistent with the City of Detroit’s community benefits ordinance.

The Little Caesars Arena (we know, the name stays) will open in September 2017 for the Red Wings season.

Little Caesars Arena

2645 Woodward Avenue, , MI 48201 (313) 471-7000 Visit Website