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Detroit soccer stadium could be reality

Detroit businessman Dan Gilbert proposed in 2016 a $1 billion plan to build a soccer stadium in Detroit. Now it has the potential to become a reality.

Earlier this month, Wayne County Land Bank and the City of Detroit reached a deal, which includes the exchange of the former Motors Corporation, originally in the possession of Wayne County, for land where Gilbert’s Rock Ventures company plans to build a new jail complex and a criminal courthouse.

The land where the unfinished Wayne County jail sits downtown will be given in return to build the soccer stadium.

Initially, Wayne County executive Warren Evans denied that there would be any possibility of a stadium. But Evans said to the Detroit Free Press that his team was working to reach a deal with Rock Ventures.

Gilbert’s plan estimates that during construction, $52 million could be generated in tax revenue annually. Some of that revenue is set to be reinvested back into the stadium.

According to Rock Ventures, the completion the new soccer stadium would create around 2,000 permanent jobs, as well as $6.4 million annually in tax revenue.

Matt Cullen, the principal at Rock Ventures, states that the stadium will be of “mixed use,” not simply a soccer stadium, but inclusive of hotel rooms and restaurants.

“We are more confident than ever that this project represents a great opportunity for Wayne County, its residents, and our entire community,” Cullen told Detroit Free Press.

Some of Renaissance High School’s soccer team is excited about the plan.

“I would appreciate it if the stadium was made, and I know many others would,” said junior player Oscar Sanchez.

“It’s one of those underrated—or just unrecognized sports here, but everywhere else in the world it isn’t.”

However, the plan is still being negotiated.

Evans stated that there are “many issues to resolve with Rock Ventures” before he could recommend the approval of a contract to the county commission and the Building Authority.

Before the building of the stadium can begin, several other organizations must approve the plan, including the Wayne County Bank Board and the Detroit City Council.

The creation of a major league soccer franchise in Detroit has yet to be approved by Major League Soccer as well.

If the plan is approved, taxpayers are expected to help with the $1 billion cost. How much of that cost will be covered by taxpayers is unclear. Still, some RHS students are hoping for a soccer stadium coming to Detroit soon.

“A soccer stadium is something that Detroit needs because there are people here that have a love for the sport and that are willing to watch it at any location,” says RHS junior soccer player Moteniola Ogundipe.

Detroit is one of around 12 cities to recently apply to join MLS. However, only 2 cities out of the 12 will be chosen. Could Detroit be one of those cities?


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