The Pontiac Silverdome was the home of the Detroit Lions from 1975-2001. It represented an era in Lions football that fans of the silver and blue would rather forget. Much like this losing period in the history of the franchise, the Silverdome appears to be abandoned. Much like many streets in a city that was impacted more than any other due to the economic collapse of the 2000’s, the Silverdome seems to be a reminder of dark times for the city. 

What appears to be leftover sand covers half of these seats.
What appears to be leftover sand covers half of these seats.

The grounds crew has obviously moved on to Ford Field and other new locations within Detroit, kinda bringing up visions of this…

A neighborhood in Detroit overrun by debris and abandoned by citizens.
A neighborhood in Detroit overrun by debris and abandoned by citizens.

With pretty much no roof (more on that late), it’s inevitable that rain would coagulate inside of the Silverdome…leaving open the possibility of rats and other vermin taking up residence.

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These are important photos to show simply because they indicate that while the people of Detroit and Lions fans alike have moved on, there are still some black eyes out there that define a city that was once and may still be on the brink.

Courtesy of the Daily Mail: The decay is obvious when you drive through some of the abandoned neighborhoods in Detroit.
Courtesy of the Daily Mail: The decay is obvious when you drive through some of the abandoned neighborhoods in Detroit.

The following photo is striking, as it shows natural grass growing in what used to be luxury suits overlooking what was an artificial football surface.

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It’s as sad as it is striking. Why doesn’t the city of Detroit just tear down this old, eroded excause for a former professional football stadium? Is it a money issue?

Courtesy of curbed.com
Courtesy of curbed.com

The real estate investor Andreas Apostolopoulos bought the Silverdome for just $580 thousand about five years ago. He has since deflated the roof and is now attempting to auction off all the items within the abandone structure. According to this report by Curbed.com, the inevitable seems to be demolition. 

The demise of the Silverdome’s roof came about after APOP intentionally allowed it to deflate in 2013. Demolition hasn’t been mentioned yet, but the SilverBowl is likely doomed. Its demise would leave APOP with a 127-acre sea of asphalt.

This is a hot-button political topic within the city of Detroit.  Apostolopoulos previously attempted to demolish the State Savings Bank Building, which has been a staple in Detroit’s previously bustling downtown since 1900.

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Courtesy of the Detroit Free Press: State Savings Bank Building shortly after it opened.

Apostolopoulos has a history of business dealings in Detroit. Most recently, he attempted to get a five-year break on paying taxes on the now rundown former home of the Lions (via the Huffington Post).

In addition to this, Apostolopoulos has previously attempted to purchase Fail Jail, a site that Curbed.com once called a “$120 million monument to idiocy.” Is Apostolopoulos a slum lord? No. What he does is buy rundown facilities on the cheap and attempt to turn them or, in the case of the Silverdome, forget about them before attempting to utilize the site for other means.

The former jail site in downtown Detroit is has been a hotbed of controversy in the city, and now Apostolopoulos is looking to turn it into a soccer field with a price tag of $1 billion.

At the very least, Apostolopoulos is attempting to get something done in a city that still seems stuck in the economic doldrums of yesteryear.

What does this mean for the Silverdome? That’s the major question, as he is the owner of the former stadium of the Lions.

At a price tag of just $600 thousand, this 127 acre lot of land isn’t currently being used for anything outside of collecting dust and bringing in whatever mother nature desires.

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Maybe build some low-income housing? What about an alternative venue for professional or minor league sports franchises? Maybe Major League Soccer. In any event, it’s pretty disgusting to see what has happened at a venue that saw Barry Sanders put up some of the greatest games in the history of the National Football League.

A sad result for a city where this is commonplace.

Photos:  Detroiturbex