While the team’s arrival is not yet official, Little Caesars Arena is being prepared for the Detroit Pistons in the event that they finalize a move to the venue.
Currently under construction in downtown Detroit, Little Caesars Arena is slated to open this fall. The venue was originally conceived for the NHL’s Red Wings, but the Pistons announced last November that they had agreed to preliminary terms to move to the arena.
In order to accommodate both teams by next fall, Little Caesars Arena will need to undergo a series of design changes and have amenities such as NBA locker rooms added. Currently, constructions crews are trying to get these projects wrapped up, even though the move of the Pistons has not been made official.
At this point, officials say that even without a finalized agreement with the Pistons, cost considerations factor into the decision to complete any basketball-related changes that must be made. More from The Detroit Free Press:
Although the bond refinancing has not yet closed, the arena upgrades had to start to keep Little Caesars Arena on schedule to open this fall. Palace Sports and Entertainment and the Ilitch family’s Olympia Development of Michigan are covering the costs for now.
“In order to open and start playing hockey there, whether the Pistons move downtown or not, they have to finish the arena,” Tom Lewand, Mayor Mike Duggan’s point man involved in the team’s move, told the Free Press today. “If those changes aren’t made now and they finish the place, then this is twice as expensive. It’s already going to be over $40 million to make the changes. Those changes are being made now.”
The Detroit City Council is expected in the next month or so to vote on a complex document with terms of the public financing and other details of the Pistons’ move. The document is an amendment to the Detroit DDA’s tax increment financing plan that includes Little Caesars Arena.
The terms of the move could allow for the Pistons to construct a practice facility and administrative offices in downtown Detroit. The team needs to receive various layers approval to make the shift to Little Caesars Arena official, with the NBA also set to weigh in on the matter.
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