AUBURN HILLS, Mich. – After countless championships and concerts since 1988, The Palace of Auburn Hills was demolished in seconds on Saturday.
Former Detroit Pistons player Earl Cureton played his very first game at The Palace and says saying goodbye to the arena is painful for everyone -- from players to fans.
“The memories, you know, championships down there: The WNBA team winning their three championships, the Pistons winning their three championships, ... the countless concerts and everybody that performed in there night in and night out -- it was just a staple in our community,” Cureton said.
The final phase of the arena’s demolition happened early Saturday morning. Only a roof and supportive structure still remained after initial demolition of the venue in December.
Saturday’s implosion took down the iconic facility that was visible from I-75 for decades.
“This is an exciting time for us here in Auburn Hills,” said Auburn Hills Mayor Kevin McDaniel. “The redevelopment that’s coming is something that we’re all going to be very proud of.”
It will take several months to clean up the debris left behind from Saturday morning.
Before the arena was sold, Auburn Hills city council rezoned the space for research and development. The one million square foot mixed-use development is expected to include corporate offices, along with research and development and technology companies.
“I think we all in southeast Michigan have gone to The Palace and we have very fond memories,” said William Hall, project manager at real estate company Schostak Brothers & Co. “Today is about the future. This implosion is about the future and the development of the site.”