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12 November 2009

Got eight figures lying around?

Today you may have the unique opportunity to buy a piece of history. Whether you're local or of a national bent, the opportunities await you - though you may have less than two hours to take advantage.

I've been following the saga of the Fox Theatre in Redwood City (not Oakland's Fox Theater) for a few months. A pair of real estate developers, John Anagnostou and Mike Monte, bought the 1400-seat Gothic Revival moviehouse and thoroughly renovated it, turning the place into an excellent live music venue. They also created a smaller 200-seat bar/cabaret within the same complex called the Little Fox. Rumors that Redwood City would buy the theatre were largely squashed as city officials indicated that budget woes would make such a purchase imprudent. Fox Theatre has additional office space and retail spaces along its Broadway frontage, making it a multifaceted venue. According to assessors, the place is worth $2.35 million, but the current owners took on a ton of debt to renovate it. While media reports don't have an exact figure, the total debt is said to be $10 million to multiple creditors. That amount has probably caused interested parties to balk at a purchase. A twice-delayed foreclosure auction is supposed to happen today, though it could be delayed again as the developers continue to try to work out some kind of refinancing plan with their creditors.

If your horizons aren't limited to the Bay Area or the Peninsula, you might want to set your sights on Pontiac, Michigan. The once-impressive Silverdome is also up for auction, with the city trying to fetch at least $13.2 million for the 80,000-seat indoor stadium. Once home to both for the Lions and Pistons, the Silverdome has also hosted several major events, including NCAA hoops regionals (though not the Final Four). The City of Pontiac wants the $1.5 million per year maintenance bill albatross off its back, and it's hoping that some smart developer will figure out a way to spur growth in the area. One unusual idea by an area citizen would turn the dome into a massive youth sports facility. The dome currently has no tenants. City police have been investigating thefts inside the stadium.

Update: The Fox Theatre auction was delayed yet again.
Update 2 (11/17): The Silverdome was sold for $583,000. No, I am not missing zeroes on that figure. The median home price of a home in San Jose is $566,000, in Alameda County it's $357,000, and in San Francisco it's $662,000.

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hard to imagine anyone buying something like the Silverdome. Maybe if land were valuable in that area and you could redevelop it into something useful. But I don't believe that describes Pontiac. More evidence on the side of not investing tons of public money into large stadiums for private enterprises.

Alan Greenspan said...

The Silverdome saga shows why cities and counties shouldn't subsidize stadiums or arenas.
If they can't pay their own way in the marketplace, then they shouldn't be built.

Anonymous said...

How does either Anon or AG know that the Silverdome lost money? To make a blanket statement about public contribution to stadiums or arenas based upon the SD is a joke--how much public contribution goes into museums, libraries etc and wha the return on investment...negative at best..if you look at it from financial terms alone--but huge in creating the fabric of a community. One of the best investments that city of San Jose made was in its arena--thank god someone has some vision

Alan Greenspan said...

How does either Anon or AG know that the Silverdome lost money?

The evidence is right there in ML's post:

The once-impressive Silverdome is also up for auction, with the city trying to fetch at least $13.2 million for the 80,000-seat indoor stadium. Once home to both for the Lions and Pistons, the Silverdome has also hosted several major events, including NCAA hoops regionals (though not the Final Four). The City of Pontiac wants the $1.5 million per year maintenance bill albatross off its back...

If the SD were a money maker, would the city be trying to sell it? A relatively spartan 80K-seat inbdoor stadium plus land and parking would cost roughly $600 million today, so why is Pontiac trying to unload it for 2 cents on the dollar?

What large US field-sport stadiums make money without subsidies? Find me even one.

Anonymous said...

Exactly, AG. And libraries aren't private, money-making enterprises like sports teams. Horrible analogy. The proper one would be paying to build a new headquarters for, say, HP with public money. You'd be all for that?

Anonymous said...

I agree with anon 6:14,
You can't point out the negative of the SD and make a blanket statement about ALL FACILITIES.
For every boondoggle SD or Mt. Davis there's a HP Pavilion and AT&T Park.

Anonymous said...

Are you hinting at the A's moving to Michigan?

Anonymous said...

What value did the Silverdome have over it's lifetime? Didn't it host a Superbowl and a jillion Bob Seger concerts? It's like that car you got 250,000 miles out of, but now it's on it's last legs and you're selling it for 800 bucks. Does that sad end, in and of itself, mean it was a piece of crap you shoulda never bought?

Anonymous said...

Trying to equate a "private enterprise" like the Detroit Pistons to a corner Starbucks is equally misleading. Sports teams ARE a part of the community fabric. I don't even remember the last time I went to a public library, but I go to A's games all the time.

It just so happens that in this country, unlike in certain other societies, professional sports teams are private enterprises, but that's a topic for another debate.

Nom DePlume said...

Guys, if you want to be anonymous, that's fine, but please make up a distinct handle so we know if we're dealing with different anonymice, or the same anon several times, or a combination of the two.
There are seven anonymice in this thread so far, and there's no way to tell if there's any continuity or consistency among them.

Things are confused enough around here already.

Anonymous said...

Apparently just six figures and they want to use it for soccer...

Dan said...

They'll never use if for soccer. The Silverdome will be razed in the next year or two, mark my words. They'll either turn it into some kind of development or if they're serious about a soccer team (which will most likely NOT be in MLS since Detroit isn't on MLS's radar) the soccer team will be in Division 2 and will only need a 15,000 seat or less stadium.

Brian said...

Would MLS even allow a team to play indoors (I don't know if there have ever been any that have because, well, soccer sucks, but I remember that when the World Cup was in the US that they had to put grass in all the stadiums that had Astroturf, and that probably wouldn't be feasable to do in an indoor stadium on a regular basis)?

Ezra said...

I don't think that Anonymous was meaning they'll use it for professional soccer. But based on the report that it would be converted to a youth facility... which would most likely include soccer fields so that they could play soccer during the winter months.

Ezra said...

@Brian

In regards to surface, FieldTurf stadiums have been approved for World Cup use (such as Qwest Field in Seattle). Most stadiums have gotten rid of Astroturf and use FieldTurf now.