PONTIAC (WWJ) – Oakland County has rejected an offer to buy the Palace of Auburn Hills.
Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson confirmed Monday that county officials in June turned down the deal to purchase the massive venue from Tom Gores for an all-in figure of about $384 million.
The proposal, which officials say would have required $270 million in bonding by the county, was made to county administration.
“Acting in a fiscally responsible manner,” according to a news release, the county turned down the offer “because it did not want to risk having taxpayers shoulder another Silverdome.”
Plus, the release continues, the county thinks the property — which is home to the Detroit Pistons — “is better in the hands of Mr. Gores and his team along with their vision for the future.”
“First off, I’m not really allowed to invest public funds in a private venture,” further explained Patterson, in an interview with WWJ’s Sandra McNeill. “There’s other ways apparently you can get around it, because Detroit and Wayne County have been doing it for years, nut I was not real happy with the risk of owning another stadium and not owning the team.
“There’s no guarantee they’re going to keep (the Pistons) there and I’d end up with a stadium. I’ve got one right now that’s empty.”
The Lions left the Silverdome for their new home Ford Field in Detroit in 2002. Now, amid talk about a potential move downtown for the NBA team, Patterson said it wasn’t worth the gamble.
“I just can’t risk taxpayers’ funds and, so it’s a decision that sort of protects them from any bad investments by the county,” he added.
There are rumors that the Pistons have been in negotiations to share Red Wings’ new home, Little Caesar’s Arena.
Patterson said if the Pistons do leave Auburn Hills, he wouldn’t be too surprised to see the Palace torn down, despite millions of dollars spent recently on renovations.