EDITORIAL: Why buying The Palace is a bad idea

Jonathan Savich, Staff Intern

The Detroit Free Press posted a story reporting on rumors that Oakland University is in talks of buying The Palace of Auburn Hills on Friday, Oct. 26.

Although we don’t know how true the report is, there are many reasons why you should hope it is not true. The Palace opened back in 1988 and was considered a top tier stadium, people believed it was the first ‘modern’ NBA stadium. Fast forward 30 years and the Palace is now a vacated building for sale.

So, say the reason Oakland was to buy The Palace was for sporting events. The Palace is way too big for any Oakland sporting event. Its capacity is a whopping 22,076. The O’rena, on the other hand, has a capacity of 4,000. Why would Oakland need to seat 18,000  more people? There is no logical answer.

Oakland’s average attendance last season was 2,875 according to the NCAA. It would be plain stupid to have a stadium that is only filled to 10 percent of its capacity.

Another potential application of The Palace may be a satellite campus for Oakland, once again a bad idea for the university. Oakland already has a satellite campus in Mt. Clements and there are plenty of classes you can take at OCC or MCC that transfer directly to OU. Oakland would have to repurpose a giant stadium or demolish it, both of which are a hassle and would take a lot of time. Let’s not forget, The Palace is right next to a giant eye sore of a landfill. The nasty smells that thing puts out is something no one should have to endure.

On the positive side of things, if Oakland converts The Palace into a satellite campus maybe it’ll alleviate parking issues here, or if they keep it as a stadium then Oakland might be able to host a Super Bowl.

One more blatant reason why buying The Palace is a bad idea for Oakland is the price. The Palace was originally built for $90 million, which is equivalent to $186 million in 2017, adjusted for inflation. There’s reason to believe when it goes to auction it would sell for more than that.

According to a Crain’s Detroit Business’ story published in 2016, Tom Gores had a $370 million offer rejected by Oakland county. So, we can assume The Palace will go for either a little less or a little more than that. If OU was to spend that much money, it’d be worth an outcry from students and local taxpayers alike because we deserve better than that. Buying The Palace would be an irresponsible use of our tuition money, definitely not the first time that would have happened at OU.

I can only imagine what would happen if Oakland was willing to invest that much money back into the main campus. The only reason Oakland would need The Palace is if they ran out of space to expand on main campus, but that is not an issue.

When The Palace goes up for auction let’s just hope and pray Oakland does not bid on it. May the odds be in our favor.