Did the Pontiac Silverdome really sell for only $500,000?

And if so, how could it go for so little?
They had a bit about this on the Daily Show last week. I know that property values in Detroit are shitty…but that shitty? That’s about what it would cost you for a house (and not necessarily mansion, but a nice three or four bedroom 3,000 square foot domicile) in a lot of places.
You’d figure they could get more selling the thing for scrap.


From here…

Sometimes you can get really good deals at auction I guess…

They are practically giving it away to escape upkeep. I wonder if the copper plumbing has been vandalized yet. Vacant houses get stripped by companies that clean them out overnight.

That’s insane, half a million dollars for a stadium?? A freaking stadium?

It’s not that crazy, depending on the condition of the stadium. Whoever buys it will be on the hook for property taxes, plus the demolition of the building if it is no longer usable as a venue. I imagine the costs to bring the current structure up to commercial viability are what drove the price so far down. It’s a money pit, so the real costs will come after the purchase, not during.

An an industrial real estate agent I’ve seen more spectacular deals than that in distressed areas, but the flip side is that even if you got it for free there’s usually a VERY substantial cost to maintaining, remediating (if needed), demolishing, or just paying the taxes and maintenance costs of large sq ft real estate.

Unless you have a plan or immediate use in mind buying large distressed properties can be very expensive undertaking regardless of the acquisition price.

Look up the derivation of the phrase “white elephant.”

At the auction of foreclosed properties in Detroit last month the minimum bid was $500 … fewer than 20% of the 9000 properties up for sale even got a bid.


Well, a big part of that is that you’re on the hook for back taxes for the property. A house might sell for $500 but have how many multiple thousands of taxes owed.

Hell, for that much money I’d expect them to throw in the Lions, too.

Then they’d have to drop the price to $250K :wink:

The city owned the property. It cost the city money to have it sitting there without a real owner. The city would have happily given the property away for free to some sucker willing to pay taxes on it.

I would point out that Pontiac is not Detroit. It’s not even adjacent to Detroit. So you’re conflating issues when you talk about “Detroit property values.”

That said, it’s almost a nitpick to point that out, because Pontiac shares some of Detroit’s biggest problems. Pontiac has had lot of financial/social problems over the last few decades, and I’m sure it isn’t faring too well just now.

I too did a double-take when I heard the price.

There’s been a number of stadiums built in the 2nd half of the 20th century which never reached their 40th birthday-Veteran’s in Philly, Riverfront (Cincy) and Three Rivers (Pittsburgh). Heck the Met in Minnesota didn’t even make 25 years, which is about how long its replacement the Metrodome will have existed as a venue for its primary teams.


Is the Silverdome still filled with seats, turf, and other such things? If so, I’d think they could sell all that crap at auction and make their money back and then some.

Although, now that I think about it, perhaps Lions fans really don’t have any fond memories of that place.

According to wiki it cost $55.7 million in 1975 (so who knows what in today dollars) to build. That’s a hell of a lot of depreciation.

As far as being surprised goes, even the guy who put in the winning bid was surprised. I wonder what he’s going to do with it?

It was built under budget and finished before schedule. It should be a national monument.

And in remebrance the Lions always make sure they are finished long before the schedule allows.

Deleted post, sorry.

Neither did the Kingdome – completed in 1976, torn down in 2000. Of course, it was built on the cheap, so it wasn’t too surprising it started to fall apart after twenty years or so.