Developer offers plan for amusement park in Silverdome

Posted | Contributed by Jeff

A regional development group bidding to convert the Pontiac Silverdome into a theme park and entertainment center has raised its offer for the property to $20.3 million from $16 million and has added a well-known sports and concert operator to its team. The plans proposed by the development group include replacing the Silverdome with an indoor/outdoor theme park. The $525 million project would offer 40 to 50 rides, 250,000 to 350,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space, 100,000 square feet of entertainment venues and two hotels with conference and meeting space.

Read more from The Detroit News.

Jeff's avatar
Is it just me, or is $20 million a steal for a domed stadium? Seems like such a waste. I had a chance to go in the Richfield Coliseum here in Cleveland as it was being destroyed, and it was kind of sad.

Good to see that they have some plan for the dome. Not sure why anyone wants to be in downtown Detroit for any reason, and I hope that the same fate does not await the Palace at Auburn Hills. That's a very nice arena.

Jeff - Webmaster/Admin - -
DELETED! *** This post was edited by Jeff on 12/20/2002. ***

I hope it comes to fruition. There was a plan down here to turn a minor leagues baseball stadium into a waterpark and I think even the Wet 'N Wild folks were on board. Great ideas but nothing ever came of it.
joe.'s avatar

Jeff, believe it or not, Detroit has been cleaning itself up, and is getting safer. But it is nice to see they want to use the Dome for something like this. But, even with the removal of seats, Silverdome will still have a space problem. I mean, after all, the floor space now is just bigger than a football field. It will be good if they build outside though...

CBClub member #30 and #364 (renewal)

Does anyone remember Autoworld in Flint? Need I say more?
Yeah, I hhave a feeling that this will be Autoworld 2. Jeff, are you saying that the Silver Dome is downtown Detroit?

Uhhhh, this is Pontiac, MI -- wayyyy outside of downtown Detroit, but really not much better off in some ways. Auburn Hills isn't too far away.

As far as that "don't wanna go downtown" thing goes, that's where the stadium replacing this one was built. And Ford Field is ssssssmokin'.

Look at all the developers behind this project...not exactly your local government, a single $75 an hour dreamer and HUD. Funny thing is, this plan actually got beat by other planners lining up to develop this area in the early rounds.

As much as I don't wanna say it, I have to: It's a little too close to Da Hood, folks. Any patron who's been to Bob-lo in the late 80s will know what I'm talking about. Go ahead and yell at me, but please click on my info before you call me a bigot.


The CPlaya 100--6 days, 9 parks, 47 coasters, 2037 miles and a winner.....LoCoSuMo.

Here we go.

"Old Chicago" reincarnated. ;)

""To be the man, WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!, You got to beat the man""!!!

Hmmm. This screams "massive failed boondoggle" so loudly. I can easily visualize the Silverdome being torn down instead.

Is that a Q-bot in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?

You got it right Chitown...sounds like "Old Chicago " to me !

'Playa, I sure am glad I didn't say that but there is some validity to it. It is more meaningful coming from you anyway.
joe.'s avatar

Dutchman, I thought about the Autoworld connection, but if they throw some good rides in the 'dome, they will probably be a bit more successful than Autoworld, which, to my recollection, didn't have any rides.

CBClub member #30 and #364 (renewal)

20 million is probably not much more than the property is worth.

As much as I would love to see a indoor Park with big rides, I don't know. CP is only a couple hours east, MIA is not far west and PCW is not far north.

Chuck, who would love to have a park he could visit over the winter. Im sure TGG could design some wicked woodies for the space :)

Charles Nungester.
Is it about coasters or friends? I say both!

ShiveringTim's avatar

PCW is about 5 hours from Pontiac, as is PKI, so I don't see them considering Paramount as a direct competitor, only Cedar Fair, who is roughly 2.5 hrs away both to the west and southeast.

From what I understood in the article, they wouldn't use the Dome itself. They would demolish it in favor of the property. Anyone who has been to the Dome knows how bloody huge the parking lot is. Remember, that thing held 80,000. They could easily build a park on that land.

My only concern is the traffic problem in that area. Anyone who has been at a Lions game until the bitter, bitter end knows the hell of getting out of that lot. There's a major freeway near, but not near enough. The connecting roads can't hold that traffic well. Now that was only during eight sundays in the fall and winter. What's that area going to be like when they're open every day during the summer?? Add in the it's locale to Chrysler HQ and you've got quite a traffic mess.

As a life long Lions fan and coaster nut, I couldn't ask for a better plan. I just hope they execute it the right way.

Scott W. Short

CPLady's avatar

In previous articles about the sale/purchase of the Silverdome, the powers that be were more interested in another developer who planned to provide office and retail space (jobs) along with hotels/conference center.

I agree with Playa that an "amusement" park isn't going to get very far in that location. Too many people still remember the demise of Boblo Island and Edgewater Park, and the gangs that helped bring them down.

The Palace is safe, Jeff. It's a major concert arena and is the home of the Piston's.

I'd rather die living than live like I'm dead

Jeff's avatar

"Jeff, are you saying that the Silver Dome is downtown Detroit?"

No, my point was that I don't see why they wanted to move football downtown. Where I was going with this is that you have great venues outside of town, with less congestion and more parking, yet some cities want to move it downtown. We went through this in Cleveland already. While I do like Gund Arena, it was a hell of a lot easier to visit Richfield out in the "country," and it was a far better option for those from Akron. We had a pretty good arena not 20 years old before it was torn down, and that's unfortunate.

I've been to the Palace, and my point was it's a nice arena. I saw Nine Inch Nails there, New Year's Eve, 1994. Great show, even from the nose bleeds.

Jeff - Webmaster/Admin - -
DELETED! *** This post was edited by Jeff on 12/20/2002. ***

Jeff- don't mean to be rude but, haven't you yourself criticized some people for straying from the topic?? While I agree with what you say and could give equal examples from where I live, the subject is about a possible theme park in a dome, not who plays football where or what group has a concert I right?? I constantly hear about peoples opinions getting away from the topic and yet here is the webmaster himself doing it.........If I am wrong, please accept my apologies as I am not on here as much as I used to be, but this is what my memory serves me. Why can't we all talk about hte great possiblities of having a true theme park open 365 days a year?? That's what it is all about IMO. Anyone who lives in the north would love to have a local park open year round I am sure.

I have visited these forums many times although this is the first time I have ever posted a message. If anyone were to consider an amusement park in the Southeastern Michigan area they really should look across the border to the Windsor - Essex County area in Ontario. There are many people who consider a trip across the border to be safer then most of lower Michigan. Second, the obvious difference in currencies would provide a better value for patrons from both sides of the border. Third with the Windsor - Essex County area being one of the busiest border areas between the two countries both in commercial and passenger traffic it is well known area for tourists travelling between the two countries. Anyone travelling from downtown Detroit can be anywhere in Essex County within 45 minutes, with less traffic problems then they would encounter heading out to the suburbs surrounding Detroit.

As far as local tourists there are already approximately 9 million people who visit the Windsor area each year. Many younger, 19 to 25 visit the downtown Windsor area every weekend, as many as 20 000 per weekend. many spend the night but have nothing much to do during the day. As well the casino is one of the busiest casinos around. Other patrons who would attend an amusement park in the area would be those very same people from either side of the border that currently pass through either towards PCW in Ontario or any one of the parks located within 5 to 6 hours of the border in the States. I am sure many of those same people would stop in along the way or make it there destination instead of one of the other parks.

The one thing a park would neeed to succeed in the area is an ownership group that would be willing to compete against PCW, PKI, CP and WOA. The Boblo owners let the park go and basically left themselves in a position of trying to maintain an already failing park. This in turn allowed almost no capitol for proper expansion, maintenance and neccassary marketing that would attract new visitors. With the vast array of large parks within a few hours drive a small local park with a very checkered history was not in a position to succeed. As well any new park that may be built, if aimed at mainly local visitors and not at the out of town tourists will fail.

The potential is there to develop a very successful park in the area, just not so close to Detroit on the Michigan side of the border. I agree Detroit has done a lot to clean itself up and the Windsor - Detroit area people know it, those that you would need to support it, tourist and families looking to enjoy themselves do not know it yet.

If this project goes ahead you will have another Boblo Island... it just won't take as long to close down.

Finally an amusement for Rochester and Pontiac.Ive been waiting for this for a while.

That is going to take A LOT to convert a stadium into an amusement park. One question though, is the dome retractable? That sure would be nice...

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