The Palace of Auburn Hills
The Palace of Auburn Hills, home of the Detroit Pistons (NBA) and numerous concerts, family shows, sporting events, trade shows and special productions, remains one of the world’s most innovative arenas after more than 25 years.
The Palace has undergone more than $40 million in venue upgrades and renovations to elevate fan experience and modernize the facility since Tom Gores acquired Palace Sports & Entertainment in 2011. To complement the initial phase of improvements, PS&E is beginning the first stage of a three-year, $6 million seating renovation plan to replace all of the seating throughout the entire arena. This season patrons seated from lower-level suites to the floor will experience renewed comfort and style with black leather seating and ergonomically placed cup holders. The remainder of the lower-level seating will be replaced during the summer of 2016 and the final upper-level seats will be completed in 2017. The new seating will eventually be equipped with near-field communications (NFC) technology that allows fans the opportunity to receive additional special offers for merchandise, food and beverage, and in-game contests throughout the arena. Technology components are expected to be ready for the 2016-17 season.
In addition to the seating renovation, the East Entrance and East Terrace were remodeled in 2015 for the first time in Palace history. The renovation added 1,000 square feet of new dining space, utilizes state-of-the-art lighting technology and showcases restaurant-inspired culinary flare. Authentic, locally-inspired street food fare and signature beverages are available to fans at three dining destinations on the upstairs concourse – Maplewood Barbecue, Eastside Tacos, The Linkery. The main anchor of the new East Terrace, Maplewood Barbecue serves up house-smoked favorites using The Palace’s proprietary blend of wood, spices and sauces. Also, The Palace brings a Michigan tradition to life with the introduction of “Pistons Coneys” at traditional concession stands in the East.
The initial three-year renovation, completed in November 2014, featured the installation of a new center court high-definition “Palace360” scoreboard system, upper-level endzone boards with game statistics, LED ribbon boards encircling the lower-level and upper-level fascia, arena tunnel entrance digital displays, and audio system enhancements. Outside the facility, an all-new digital video system featuring 1080p HD screens enhanced the programming capabilities for The Palace Marquee at the Lapeer Road entrance.
Other improvements included a remodeling of the lower-level and mid-level suites, construction of two larger “Party Suite” locations on the club and concourse levels, Suite Terrace upgrades, a new Concierge lounge for premium season ticket members, renovated Presidents Club for corporate meetings and entertaining and a newly renovated and rebranded Palace Grille. Americans with Disabilities Act concourse and arena-level restroom upgrades were also made, including additional seating, and a tunnel was added in Section 101 allowing for an additional direct access point to the arena level and nearby PNC Courtside Club. Further enhancements included an updated Dodge Atrium entrance, an expanded Pistons locker room, a newly developed entertainment complex and locker room area, a refreshed media work room named The Matt Dobek Press Room, installation of an in-arena theatrical lighting system and DAS WiFi system, and a sparking Courtside Broadcast Studio. United Shore Club West, located above the West Atrium was remodeled and FanDuel Club 300, a full-service open-air lounge on the third-level suite concourse with direct views of the arena floor was constructed. Digital menu boards and fan-engaging Twitter boards on the upper arena fascia all enhance the fan experience.
In 2005, The Palace underwent a $30 million expansion that introduced the 65,000 square foot North Pavilion Entrance, which opened April 2006. The pavilion’s lower level is home to exclusive clubs and suites. The Presidents Club, which opened in February 2006, boasts a central club/bar area and eight luxury private suites averaging 1,000 square feet. It is accessible by direct entrance from the arena. The pavilion’s concourse level created a dramatic new grand entrance/lobby, which provides guests with additional concourse space, additional box office windows and a new retail area. The new area also increased amenities inside The Palace with the Red Bull Bar and the Atwater Brewery Biergarten. The upper level of the pavilion is the luxurious Pistons VIP Club.
The Dodge Atrium was completed in 1996 and contains three levels of offices, a storage facility and an expanded entrance with numerous amenities.
Conceptualized and built in 1987-88 by Arena Associates, consisting of late Pistons managing partner William Davidson, along with David Hermelin and Robert Sosnick, The Palace was immediately recognized as an all-encompassing entertainment venue and quickly became one of the nation’s top concert facilities. Since its opening in 1988, The Palace has undergone more than $141.5 million in renovations and upgrades and recently won the Michigan AIA 25-Year Award for architectural prowess. The Palace has been voted Arena of the Year eight times by Performance Magazine, twice by Pollstar and is listed annually among North America’s top-grossing arenas.
- CAPACITY: Basketball – 19,971; Hockey – 20,804; Concert and Family Shows – 6,000 to 23,000 depending on configuration.
- 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.
- DODGE ATRIUM ADDITION: 100,000 square-foot addition which opened September 13, 1996.
- DODGE ATRIUM HEIGHT: 117 feet.
- UNITED SHORE 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: 168 total. 157 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.
- 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.