The Palace of Auburn Hills — home of the Detroit Pistons (NBA), concerts, family shows, sporting events, trade shows and special productions — remains one of the world’s most innovative arenas since it opened in 1988.
The Palace, one of the largest arenas in the NBA, was designed and built with private financing from 1987 to 1988 by Arena Associates (then Detroit Pistons Owner and Managing Partner William Davidson, David Hermelin and Robert Sosnick). Since then roughly $141.5 million have been invested in upgrades and renovations. Tom Gores and Platinum Equity, assumed ownership of Palace Sports & Entertainment in 2011, and immediately began making capital improvements to The Palace.
- CAPACITY: Basketball – 22,076; Hockey – 20,804; Concert and Family Shows – 6,000 to 23,000.
- NUMBER OF EVENTS: An annual average of 200.
- PROFESSIONAL TEAM: Detroit Pistons (NBA).
- ACREAGE: The Palace sits on 61.1 acres (2,662,717 square feet) and has been cited by conservationists for its efforts to preserve natural wetlands throughout the property when the arena was constructed in 1988.
- OVERALL BUILDING AREA: 570,000 square feet.
- ATRIUM ADDITION: 100,000 square-foot addition which opened September 13, 1996.
- ATRIUM HEIGHT: 117 feet.
- CLUB WEST ADDITION: 12,000 square feet.
- NORTH PAVILION ADDITION: 65,000 square feet.
- PRESIDENT’S CLUB AND ADJOINING SUITES ADDITION: 5,600 square feet.
- SUITES: 175 total. 164 suites overlook the arena; some as close as 16 rows from the floor. This trend started with The Palace’s construction and continues to be the standard in most U.S. arenas. The 100-level and 300-level suites have private concourses. There are also eight suites without arena views in the President’s Club and three suites without arena views in the Courtside Club.
- The Palace’s air conditioning system is powerful enough to cool 500 single-family homes or turn one million gallons of water into ice.
- There are more than 300 miles of electrical wiring throughout the Palace.
- The Palace has approximately 8,400 parking spaces on site.
- The amount of concrete used in constructing The Palace is enough to pave a two-lane highway 23 miles long.
The arena upgrades began updating and expanding the Palace’s backstage, basketball and entertainment venues. The media center was renovated and expanded, a permanent area for the Detroit Pistons Dance Team was created and a broadcast studio was added. The West Atrium lobby was remodeled, new lighting was added on the main concourse, “Twitter Boards” were added to each end on the 300-level,and the Player banner sections and the rafter banners were upgraded.
For 2012, a large-scale renovation project estimated at $13-15 million, included remodeling the main concourse and Club West, located above the West Atrium Entrance. The initial phase also included remodeling 40 100-level and construction of Club 300, created by the removal of 16 300-level suites to create a an open-air lounge available to groups and individual ticket buyers to enjoy food and beverage in an open-air atmosphere with direct views of the arena floor.
But in Palace history, the addition of the West Entrance Atrium, completed in 1996, three levels of office space, and a storage facility were among the most significant. In 2004, a Light Emitting Diodes (LED) board was installed, allowing for the display of electronic signage around the entire arena and around the state-of-the-art hanging scoreboard during events.
The following year, Palace management undertook its subsequent renovation project with a $30 million expansion, including the addition of the Courtside Club, an exclusive courtside lounge, and two additional clubs on the concourse. The Courtside Club, opened in November 2005, offers three 450 square-foot luxury suites as well as all access for courtside season ticket holders.
The project also included a 65,000-square-foot expansion of the North Entrance with the North Pavilion, which opened April 2006. The pavilion’s lower level is home to the other set of exclusive club/suites. The President’s Club, which opened in February 2006, boasts a central club/bar and eight private luxury suites averaging 1,000 square feet. The club is accessible by a private entrance in the North Pavilion and through a tunnel entrance leading to the 100-level suite corridor and has an exclusive entrance into the arena.
The North Pavilion’s concourse created a dramatic new grand entrance/lobby, which provides guests with additional concourse space, additional box office windows and a new retail area. The area also provided additional casual dining options and amenities in The Palace with an eatery featuring Buffalo Wild Wings, the Red Bull Bar and Captain Morgan’s Bar. The upper level of the pavilion is the luxurious Pistons VIP Club.
The Palace was immediately recognized as one of the nation’s top concert arenas when it opened in 1988. After its inaugural season, The Palace was named “New Venue of the Year” by Performance and “Best New Concert Venue” by Pollstar. The venue was nominated “Arena of the Year” 10 times by Performance magazine, winning the award seven times. It also earned 10 “Arena of the Year” nominations from Pollstar magazine and won the honor in 1992.