A Quiet Birthday

Posted by – Steve Cohen, Director of Community Development

In case you missed it, one of the City of Auburn Hills’ landmark buildings quietly celebrated a birthday yesterday.  The Palace of Auburn Hills is now 24 years old.

Opened on August 13, 1988 at a cost of $70 million – all private funds – the 22,076 seat arena is home to the three-time NBA World Champion Detroit Pistons.  Over the years, it has been one of the popular entertainment venues in America hosting numerous concerts, family shows, sporting events, trade shows, and special productions.

Bill Davidson teamed up with real estate developers Robert Sosnick and David Hermelin to build this state-of-the-art sports and entertainment facility. All three gentlemen have since passed away.

Despite being one of the oldest arenas in the NBA, it still remains one of the most innovative and attractive.  Why?  Two primary reasons: it has numerous luxury suites and there has been constant re-investment in the facility over the years.  Records show that approximately $112 million has been spent in renovations on the venue since it opened – that’s not including the $15 million remodel currently under construction.

According to Palace Sports & Entertainment, here are some fun facts about our beloved arena:

  1. The air conditioning system is powerful enough to cool 500 single-family homes.
  2. There are more than 300 miles of electrical wiring throughout it.
  3. It has approximately 8,400 parking spaces on site.
  4. The amount of concrete used to construct it would be enough to pave a two-lane highway 23 miles in length.
  5. It’s the historic site of Steve and Sarah Cohen’s first date on June 15, 1990.

What?  Yes, Fact No. 5 is so true.  My wife and I went to The Palace of Auburn Hills for our first date to watch the Detroit Pistons play the Portland Trailblazers on its big jumbo TV. They called it “PalaceVision” and it was a cheap ticket.  The game was in Portland and the Pistons won that night to repeat as NBA Champions.  Do you remember when Vinnie Johnson’s 14-foot jump shot swished through the net with 0.07 seconds left on the clock?  We do.

In June 1990, we had just graduated from Novi High School. You gotta love those glasses.

Before the broadcast, I took my beautiful bride to the McDonald’s on Opdyke Road, near University Drive for a little fine dining.  You know, I’m known for being quite the romantic.

I think most would agree that The Palace of Auburn Hills is a pretty special place.  For our community, it helped put us on the map.  We are very grateful and proud it’s here.