Po' Town: Detroit's Pontiac Silverdome Sold For A Song

by BILLY GRAY · November 18, 2009

In Manhattan, $584,000 will get you a 900 square foot 2-bedroom condo in East Harlem. In Detroit, the same price just bought an 80,311 seat stadium and the adjacent 127 acres. -

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Previous bids on Motor City's Pontiac Silverdome hovered around $20 million. But in the end it was a six-figure offer from a Toronto-based real estate company that sealed the deal. It's a sad commentary on the old sports coliseum that, like much of the city, has seen better days. The Silverdome was the home of the Detroit Lions and Pistons (before the teams fled for shinier new digs and the suburbs) and  in its prime also hosted Michael Jackson and Pope John Paul II.

The new owners plan to turn the sprawling complex into a venue for perennially ignored Major League Soccer games, maybe the most disconcerting development of all.

Our (admittedly naive) solution: Detroit needs a major PR push that positions it not as a car or sports town, but, like an American Berlin, a mecca for artists, writers and other creative types priced out of New York and other flush cities. It's worked wonders in these parts, making neighborhoods like Soho, the LES and Williamsburg go from bust to boom.

Easier said than done, sure. But so is expecting rabid David Beckham fans to fill up that gargantuan parking lot with Detroit's erstwhile money maker.