It’s been no secret that Quicken Loans CEO, Dan Gilbert, has been actively pursuing a Major League Soccer franchise for the city of Detroit. Gilbert, accompanied by investor and businessman Tom Gores, has been aggressively attempting to entice the sports giant to the Motor City since it announced it would be adding to its lineup in 2020. As of the first week of October, Detroit’s man of the hour, Mayor Mike Duggan, affirmed the city municipality has joined Gilbert’s cause. “We’re pursuing an MLS franchise but there are a number of options for that, but I really can’t say anything else,” stated Duggan in Free Press Q&A earlier this week.
The statement followed on the tail of an announcement just hours earlier which seemed to have the city buzzing. According to the statement released by the Mayor’s office, there is now a tentative deal between the city and Wayne County regarding a property swap—the massive 1.4-million-square-foot former American Motors headquarters in Detroit is proposed to be exchanged for 11 acres of city-owned land which is needed to build a new criminal justice complex.
During the Free Press Q&A, Duggan denied this swap had anything to do with the outreach for a MLS franchise. “I would not assume that at all,” Duggan said. “We need to get an MLS franchise but in my mind, this (the land swap) has nothing to do with a soccer stadium. This is a deal that is the right thing for the criminal justice center.” According to plans submitted by Gilbert and Gores in the franchise application, a 23,000-seat stadium costing an estimated $1 billion will need to be built to house the team if the franchise application is approved by the MLS.