Since there is apparently an open RFP for the TS site, I've decided to come up with my own master plan. My plan - which I think will please the City, the residents of Corktown, the TS preservationists and the gay community - is to turn the area into Detroit's new gayborhood.
First of all, let's look at the economics of the whole thing. Ernie's plan relies on nostalgia to make the stadium work. Donations from foundations, selling naming rights for a stadium with no real use, museums as tenants ... that plan has more holes in it than my granny's panties. Foundations make grants based on need and Lord knows there are a lot of worthy charities out there already. And people go to museums, what, once a year?
No, nostalgia ain't gonna pay the bills.
(click for a somewhat larger version)
In my plan, we tear down a good portion of the stadium. Fuck it, it's ugly, worth more as scrap and it's taking up space. The historic corner of Michigan and Trumbull will remain, mostly because it's the only architecturally interesting part of the stadium but also for its more intimate scale, and it will house retail businesses that cater to the needs of the gay and lesbian community. Examples: Hermes, Apple, Barney's, Good Vibrations (for our lesbian sistren) and Hollister (for twinks and the men who dress like them).
Instead of a sports hall of fame and a music museum, we will just have the Madonna Hall of Fame. It's important to have a cultural aspect to any project.
In an additional nod to preservationists, a gay sports bar called "The Dugout" will open right at the corner, and will adaptively re-use the much-loved trough urinals in its restroom, as well as some lockers from the visitor's locker room for decor. And of course there would be a Starbucks, for caffeination and general cruising opportunities.
The historic locker rooms themselves will also be saved. The Tiger's locker room will be converted into part of a premiere health club facility, and the visitor's locker room will be converted into a bathhouse. Can you imagine the draw of that? Come hook up in an original MLB locker room? Rest assured, people would visit more than once for that experience! There would also be a gift shop.
The field itself would be saved - another nod to preservationists and the neighborhood - and could be used for lesbian softball leagues with a dog park way out in the outfield.
In place of the stadium there would be new, mixed-use modern construction - restaurants, service retail, condos, apartments and townhouses. I can hear the bitching now, "modern doesn't go in Corktown!" I say contextualism is for pussies. The only context right now is empty parking lots, a freeway and a giant pile of steel. These buildings will vary in size, but they should push the design envelope and make a statement. We're here, we're queer, we're fabulous, get used to it.
This will give Corktown housing for all types ... want something new and modern? Got it. Want a fixer-upper? Just cross over the freeway to North Corktown. Want Victorian charm? Hop across Michigan Avenue into the historic Corktown area. And you are a minute from downtown.
People need to start looking forward in this city, instead of rubbing one out over what used to be. It's time to rub one out over what could be. This is a solution that works, so let's get going with tearing down that stadium!Oh, and I also propose they take down Comerica Park while they're at it. I hate sports.