The Palace Of Auburn Hills Arena Property Proposed For Rezoning

Posted by – Steve Cohen, Director of Community Development

We’re very pleased to report that the City of Auburn Hills, in cooperation with Palace Sports & Entertainment (PS&E), has initiated a rezoning application to prepare the 109 acre arena property for redevelopment should it no longer remain viable as a sports and entertainment venue in the years ahead.

The Palace of Auburn Hills

The land currently has two separate and distinct zoning districts.  The property on which the Pistons practice facility is located is zoned T&R, Technology and Research District and contains approximately six acres; while the property on which the arena sits is zoned I-2, General Industrial District and contains approximately 103 acres.  The City and PS&E have agreed that the T&R zoning is best suited for the entire property.  The T&R zoning classification is also being presented for amendment to permit the arena to remain as an allowable use in the T&R district should that be the final outcome for the site.

The recommendation of the T&R zoning came as a result of a detailed planning analysis called The Palace of Auburn Hills Arena Redevelopment Study, which was conducted by City staff and authorized by the City Council.  The study and proposed zoning change will set the stage for a quick and streamlined review process for new development at the site, if use of the arena is ultimately discontinued.

Scenario A: City’s “wish list” for the redevelopment of the site. Create a walkable, interconnected R&D park with uses such as corporate HQ locations, hotel/conference center, and fitness center

Scenario B: Facilitating redevelopment of the site with several large scale R&D/clean industrial businesses. This option would be immediately supported by the real estate market and is a natural fit for Auburn Hills

Auburn Hills’ officials believe this proactive, “redevelopment ready” approach will better position the City and PS&E when working collaboratively with the State of Michigan and Oakland County to attract new companies and investment to the location.

Those interested in learning more about this proposal are encouraged to attend the Planning Commission meeting scheduled for Wednesday, June 14th at 7:00 p.m. in the Council Chamber at City Hall.  A final decision on the application is anticipated to be made by the City Council on Monday, June 26th.

The Warped Tour Is Back!

Posted by – Elizabeth Brennan, Executive Assistant

This Friday, the 2016 Vans Warped Tour returns to the Palace of Auburn Hills.  This popular one-day, outdoor concert event features over 70 bands on seven stages.  If you’re a newbie to this all-ages show, you’ll want to check out the on-line Guide to All Things Warped.  You’ll find great information on everything from tickets to transportation and eveything in between.

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Warped offers one (1) complimentary parent admission to accompany a minor (under 18) that has purchased a ticket.  Only one complimentary ticket per party and rules apply.  The show begins at 11:00am and closes down by 9:00pm.

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Tickets are $40.50 general admission in advance and are available at Palacenet.com, The Palace Ticket Store, all Ticketmaster locations and Livenation.com. On the day of the show, tickets will be $45 at Ticketmaster outlets and $50 at The Palace Ticket Store.

Be safe, have fun and rock out!

Highway Digital Billboards For The Palace of Auburn Hills Being Updated

Posted by – Steve Cohen, Director of Community Development

As part of Palace Sports & Entertainment’s continual investment into The Palace of Auburn Hills, they are improving their presence along I-75 and M-24 with improved billboard signage.  This multi-million dollar investment is being done in anticipation of the opening of the upcoming Detroit Pistons basketball season.

The logo and colors will change on both highway signs and the digital LED board is currently being replaced on their M-24 sign.  The M-24 sign is expected to be operational soon and the I-75 sign is anticipated to be upgraded by October 31st.

Artist rendering of the upgraded billboard sign on M-24

Artist rendering of the upgraded billboard sign on M-24

As part of this changeover in technology, Palace Sports & Entertainment has partnered with the City of Auburn Hills to provide significant advertisement space on both digital billboards at no cost to our taxpayers starting on January 1st.  The City will receive one eight-second message per minute on both sides of each sign – for the life of the signs – free of charge.  Thus, the City will be able to promote Downtown Auburn Hills, Fieldstone Golf Club, and numerous community events to tens of thousands of motorists each day.

This is another exciting high-tech improvement that benefits both a great corporate citizen and a progressive town.

Millions of Dollars Being Invested At The Palace Of Auburn Hills

Posted by – Steve Cohen, Director of Community Development

Palace Sports & Entertainment continues to make significant investments at The Palace of Auburn Hills.  Records show that they’ve expended close to $50 million to upgrade the arena since owner Tom Gores purchased the Pistons franchise and overall business a little over three years ago.

Currently, contractors have been working two shifts (approximately 15 to 20 workers per shift) at the facility to complete another multi-million dollar project.  They’ve been re-supporting the existing trusses on the roof to accept a new state-of-the-art scoreboard and hoist.  The hoist was installed last week.

City building inspectors work closely with PS&E contractors to ensure the re-enforcements are safe and strong.

City building inspectors work closely with PS&E contractors to ensure the reinforcements are safe and strong.

The new scoreboard is expected to be delivered this week and should be installed by mid-September to allow PS&E technicians the opportunity to practice with its new and exciting features before the start of the Pistons’ basketball season.  The first pre-season game is October 7th against the Chicago Bulls.   The Palace’s command and control center has also been reworked to accommodate the new scoreboard operations.

Rendering of view looking east at the new scoreboard above center court.

Rendering of view looking east at the new scoreboard above center court.

In addition to the center-hung scoreboard, new LED display bands will be added all around the circumference of the seating area and new LED signs will be installed above all the exits.  Rendering shows how it will look.

In addition to the center-hung scoreboard, new LED display bands will be added all around the circumference of the seating area and new LED signs will be installed above all the exits. Rendering shows how it will look.

Stay tuned for more information in the weeks to come about sign upgrades planned for outside The Palace of Auburn Hills.

 

Busy Day at Auburn Hills University

Posted by – Steve Cohen, Director of Community Development

Yesterday, the Community Development Department had the opportunity to spend the day with the 6th class of Auburn Hills University (AHU).  Every year a small group of employees meet one day a month, for six months, to learn what each City Department does.

By getting together in AHU, we build our organization by discussing what we do in an informal setting.  Thus, we learn about and from each other.  This helps us become a better team.

We had an action packed agenda as you can see in the photos below.  By the end of the day our feet were sore, but everyone learned a lot.

Facility managers Jim Summers and Mike Willaert gave the class an extensive tour of the Palace of Auburn Hills.  This photo was taken inside the Piston's game day locker room.

Facility managers Jim Summers and Mike Willaert gave the class an extensive tour of the Palace of Auburn Hills. This photo was taken inside the Piston’s game day locker room.

At Riverside Park, Water Resources Cordinator Shawn Keenan talked about how the City protect its water.

At Riverside Park, Water Resources Cordinator Shawn Keenan talked about how the City protects its water.

In Downtown Auburn Hills, builder Dennis Burt talked to the class about the complexities of building the new Graduate Housing Apartment Complex and Parking Structure.

In Downtown Auburn Hills, builder Dennis Burt talked to the class about the complexities of constructing the new Graduate Housing Apartment Complex and Parking Structure.

Walking on the 4th floor of the new Graduate Housing Apartment Complex.

Walking on the 4th floor of the new Graduate Housing Apartment Complex.

The view is nice from the top of the new Downtown project.

The view is nice from the top of the new Downtown project.

Best of Series: Little Big Town

Posted by – Steve Cohen, Director of Community Development

End of Summer “Best of Series” / Blog Originally Posted on May 21, 2012

I often find that people are surprised when I tell them that the population of the City of Auburn Hills is 21,412 people.

The Mayor and Council Members Serving Up Treats at the City’s Annual Ice Cream Social

Their reaction is often … “Really!  Wow, I thought it was much bigger?”  I just smile and say, “Well, we’re kind of like a little big town.”

The City is 17.5 square miles in size, which is a little less than half the land area of a typical Michigan township.  It successfully merges the “polar opposite” and diverse cultures of a small town and a regional destination together like few places in the nation.

People assume our City has a larger population because it’s an employment center, college town, entertainment hub, and retail shopping mecca.  Our day-time population has been conservatively estimated by statisticians to triple to 65,000 people on typical days.  Anecdotally, we believe this number is often much higher on days when all our regional venues are operating on full cylinders.  Few municipalities our size face the logistical demands on services we experience.  That’s a lot of people coming to, hanging out, and leaving our small place – often all at the same time.

Chrysler Group Headquarters and Technical Center – Located in the Heart of the City of Auburn Hills

As a little background, the City is home to just under 10,000 residential units – about 50% of the units are owner-occupied homes and condos, with the other 50% being rental apartments and mobile homes.  The percentage of our housing stock as rental units is double the typical community in Southeast Michigan.  A large segment of our population choose to live in our community for only a short duration due to job assignments or financial reasons; while you will find an equal number of long-time residents who remember when we used to be Pontiac Township.

People are amazed that our entire population can fit into The Palace of Auburn Hills to watch a Justin Bieber concert.  The Chrysler Group Headquarters and Technical Center is big enough to house all the working age adults living in our town.  All of our residents could feasibly leave home at the same time, park, and shop at Great Lakes Crossing Outlets and associated retail shops.

The City of Auburn Hills is an amazing “hybrid” community – a small town and regional destination successfully coexisting and thriving together.  Kind of like a “little big town.” Few municipalities are like us, which makes us special.

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.