Soccer stadium proposed for jail site in Detroit

(WXYZ) - A Canadian-based developer wants to trade prisoners for soccer fans in downtown Detroit.

Steve Apostolopoulos, co-founder and managing partner of Triple Properties, says their $1 billion plan includes a 25,000 seat soccer stadium for Major League Soccer.

Triple Properties also owns the Silverdome, the Penobscot building and other downtown properties.  Apostolopoulos tells the 7 Investigators that the $1 billion proposed project would be one of the most significant developments in Detroit in the last few decades. 

The proposal calls for re-developing the site where the new jail is being built, as well as two of the older jail properties known as Division I and II, the Frank Murphy Hall of Justice, the nearby Juvenile Justice Center, as well as the former Detroit Police Headquarters at 1300 Beaubien.

"It's going to bring over a million people each year," said Andreas Apostolopoulos, owner of Triple Group of Companies, and Steve Apostolopoulos' father.

The county started looking for other options for the jail site after they realized they were $91 million over the $300 million dollar budget.

The jail has been the subject of scrutiny ever since the 7 Action News Investigators exposed corruption in Wayne County back in 2011.

Triple Properties' $1 billion investment plan includes two towers of one million square feet of residential condos, 1.3 million square feet of office space, and 275,000 square feet of retail space.

"Why are you investing in Detroit?" asked 7 Action News Investigator Heather Catallo. "Because I think Detroit is very good city, and it's time for Detroit to be one of the best cities in the United States," said Andreas Apostolopoulos.

Wayne County has already spent $120 million on the new jail. While Triple Properties won't say how much they are offering for the property itself – they do admit there's no way the county can recover that much money.

"The real estate – whatever its worth, that's what they will get," said Andreas Apostolopoulos.  "In the end, it's better. At the end of the day, it's better for the county to sell those – and build new buildings and bring new people and create more jobs.  And collect more property tax."

Triples Properties expects the soccer team to bring about 1000 full time jobs to Detroit, even more part-time positions, plus about 2,000 construction job opportunities. They also want to bring in a special tailgating area for fans – and that essential element that's so needed downtown: parking.

"They park their car there and go everywhere downtown," said Andreas Apostolopoulos.

There are four other bids from:

-Rock Ventures, owned by Dan Gilbert
-CGL Companies, a Miami-based company that offers "facility development solutions"
-Rose Auction Group, a real estate auction company
-Todd Fenton, a former Wayne County EDGE employee

The county will be presenting the proposals to the Building Authority soon.

But remember – while all of these new investments sound good – if this is the route the county chooses, they will still have to spend millions building a jail and a courthouse somewhere else.

If you have a story for Heather Catallo, please email her at hcatallo@wxyz.com or call 248-827-4473.

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