Dan Gilbert makes offer for Detroit MLS stadium; Cincinnati plans emerge
Prospective MLS team owner Dan Gilbert has submitted a plan to help him build a soccer stadium in Detroit, while the mayor of Cincinnati does not expect taxpayer money to be a part of the Ohio city's expansion bid.
Detroit and Cincinnati were two of 12 cities to submit formal applications to join Major League Soccer as it expands in the coming years. The presence of a soccer-specific stadium will be a major factor in the league's decision of which bids to accept.
Until construction stopped in 2013, Detroit was building a new a jail on Gratiot Avenue, a site on which Gilbert -- the founder of Quicken Loans and the owner of the NBA's Cleveland Cavaliers -- would like to build a stadium and entertainment district, the Detroit Free Press reported.
In exchange for Wayne County giving him the Gratiot Avenue site and the $300 million the county planned to complete the jail, Gilbert has offered to build a new criminal justice system worth $420m about 1.5 miles away on East Forest Avenue.
However, Gilbert's plan met with mixed reviews, as the county already spent $151 million on construction of the jail at Gratiot Avenue from before construction was halted. County commissioner Raymond Basham said Gilbert's offer was unlikely to go through.
"The taxpayers have spent a tremendous amount of money on the failed jail project," he told the Free Press. "There is no good option other than to continue to move forward and get this thing done."
Meanwhile, Cincinnati mayor John Cranley told The Enquirer that he had not held any talks about the possibility of using public funding in USL club FC Cincinnati's bid to join MLS.
"No one has talked to us about taxpayer money for a stadium in any manner whatsoever. I don't envision that," Cranley said.
FC Cincinnati currently plays at the football venue of the University of Cincinnati's Nippert Stadium, where it has recently put up impressive attendance numbers.
Club president Jeff Berding told The Enquirer that his MLS application contained information on "our initial thoughts on a soccer-specific stadium."
"You never want to fail a test because you left a section blank," Berding said. "Having said that, we would have a long ways to go before we need to put a plan to action."
MLS is expected two announce two of an eventual four expansion teams later this year.
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