Report: Pistons In Talks To Build New Practice Facility In Downtown Detroit, Possibly Move Team

DETROIT (CBS Detroit) — The Detroit Pistons may soon call Detroit “home” once again for the first time in almost 40 years.

The team is throwing around the idea of building a brand new practice facility in downtown Detroit just north of the new Little Caesars Arena, according to a report by Crain’s Detroit Business, if the team is to relocate to the area.

“Both sides have acknowledged that they’re in at least preliminary talks to figure out how the Pistons could relocate from the Palace of Auburn Hills, their suburban Oakland County home since 1988.

Tom Wilson, president of Ilitch-owned Olympia Entertainment, told Crain’s on Sept. 15 that the sides were in a “talks-to-begin-talks” phase, something that remains unchanged, said Mark Barnhill, a partner and spokesman with Pistons owner Tom Gores’ Los Angeles-based Platinum Equity private equity firm.”

The reported practice facility would be 60,000 square feet, according to Crain’s.

Rumors surrounding a potential move back to Detroit have ramped up in the past few years after Michigan native Tom Gores purchased the Pistons in 2011. Gores hired longtime agent Arn Tellem in 2015 to explore new opportunities for the franchise, including weighing the benefits of moving downtown.

Ownership, however, has remained mum on the prospect of moving the team.

“I think you’ve just got to respect the home you’re in,” Gores said last October. “Whatever home you’re living in, you should make it the best possible. I’ve always believed that, and so I don’t rule out downtown, but right now, this is our home. … We want to do everything 100 percent. Whatever the future holds, we’ll see what happens, but the fact is, tonight there are kids and parents and fans and everybody else here, and we should provide the best possible experience.”

The Pistons moved to Oakland County in 1978 to play at the Pontiac Silverdome and have played at the Palace of Auburn Hills since it opened in 1988. The team played in Detroit starting in 1957 at Olympia Stadium and later Cobo Arena.

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