While The Palace is set for demolition in the fall, the original development of beloved building is worth remembering.
The Palace of Auburn Hills has served Metro Detroit for 31 years. This fall, however, will mark the end of an era — The Palace will be torn down and redeveloped by the Schostak Brothers.
Despite this news, there is no shortage of history surrounding The Palace. After the collapse of the Pontiac Silverdome’s roof in 1984, Detroit Pistons owner Bill Davidson decided it was time to search for a new home for the beloved basketball team.
With the help of Robert Sosnick and David Hermelin, who later became Davidson’s business partners, they found the perfect spot: Auburn Hills.
In 1986, they decided to go ahead with the development of The Palace of Auburn Hills. Davidson had a strict deadline for the completion: October 13, 1988, on the opening night for the Detroit Pistons.
Sosnick and Hermelin recruited Jason Horton, Davidson’s representative to the development team, to help design the elaborate building.
“I literally spent every day of my life at The Palace before the Sting grand opening concert on August 13, 1988,” Horton said.
The team began with 18 pages of preliminary sketches but continued developing ideas as The Palace was being built.
“It was the first arena in the world to have multiple suite levels,” Horton said. “Before, arenas had nothing other than skyboxes. This arena provided fantastic sightlines for basketball.”
The Palace also housed a television studio that could accommodate multiple broadcasts for local news, opposing teams and cable networks.
“We were the first to introduce gourmet food at a sports and entertainment venue,” Horton said. “Not only that, but we also were the first to have a semi-automated beverage distribution center.”
The Detroit Pistons weren’t the only inhabitants of this magnificent building — The Palace was also a huge draw for many musicians.
“The Palace was recognized by artists as a place to play if you wanted to sound good because our design was beneficial to maximizing sound acoustics,” Horton said. “We had a massive equipment grid that covered the arena. All of the lighting and speakers could be rigged on the floor then hoisted into the air.”
Even with these impressive features, Tom Gores, the current owner of the Detroit Pistons, has partnered with the Schostak Brothers to tear down and redevelop The Palace. Horton believes corporate offices will be built where this Michigan icon once stood.
“No one could ever dream that it would be torn down after 30 years,” Horton said. “I can still remember giving Bob Seger’s entourage a tour of The Palace and observing Mr. Hermelin nail a mezuzah to the door post of the owner’s suite on August 12.”
Whether your favorite memories stem from Detroit Pistons playoff games or dancing and singing along to your favorite musicians, The Palace of Auburn Hills will always hold a special place in the heart of many Michiganders.
Do you have a favorite memory from The Palace? Leave a comment below!