SBJ/February 28 - March 6, 2005/Facilities

Pistons spend big to land the big spenders

The Detroit Pistons’ $20 million expansion of the Palace of Auburn Hills will include some of the industry’s highest-priced luxury suites in the NBA’s largest arena.

The Pistons are building five floor-level “bunker” suites under the stands at the north end of the arena. The floor level suites will lease for $450,000 and $550,000 and won’t have a view of the court. But the price includes access to courtside seating and food and beverage.

“Those are definitely on the high end of prices,” said Bill Dorsey, president of the Association of Luxury Suite Directors. “But you are also getting much more than the suite. There’s the food and beverage, courtside seats, and you are also incurring the cost of construction.”

The Pistons are also building a courtside club and a three-story addition adjacent to the Palace that will include an upscale restaurant, a 20,000-square-foot concourse with a retail store and a food court, and eight other suites in the arena’s lower bowl leasing for $350,000 and $450,000. Rosetti Associates is the design firm for the project.

The 22,076-seat Palace of Auburn Hills already has 180 suites, with 170 leased. But team officials are banking that the 13 additional suites will appeal to well-heeled fans who want to get closer to the court.

“The goal is to give corporate people a better way [to entertain],” said Pistons President Tom Wilson. “We think we will have people changing their current suites to the courtside suites for the snob appeal.”

Work will begin in April and finish in time for the start of the 2005-06 season.

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Basketball, Detroit Pistons

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