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Detroit Plans for an MLS District

Detroit MLS Stadium District proposal (Courtesy of Rossetti Architects)

Detroit MLS Stadium District proposal (Courtesy of Rossetti Architects)

Our neighbors to the east are planning to build not just a Major League Soccer stadium, but an entire district around the 25,000 seat stadium.

Detroit architecture firm Rossetti has unveiled its plans for a new downtown stadium, accompanied by four residential, office, and hotel towers; along with retail and parking facilities.  The city and other stakeholders still have to sign off on the project, which would be located on the site of a half-finished county jail.

Rossetti has designed a number of other stadia and stadium-anchored mixed-use developments, including the Toyota Center in suburban Bridgeview, Ford Field in Detroit, the TD Garden in Boston and the Daytona International Speedway in Florida.

More details in Rossetti’s press release following the image gallery.  All pictures courtesy of Rossetti.



Detroit, MI – ROSSETTI’s proposal transforms an important area of downtown Detroit into an active and healthy destination for a diverse mix of sports, entertainment, hospitality and retail. The design reflects a commitment to enhancing the public realm, balancing open pedestrian space and connectivity to adjacent areas and creating a world-class urban environment for the city. Detroit Pistons owner Tom Gores and Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert, with the acknowledgement of MLS Commissioner Don Garber, commissioned ROSSETTI to develop the plan.

Led by the addition of a dynamic 20,000-seat MLS stadium as a catalyst, the proposed project also includes a training facility, a podium for commerce and recreation, four towers containing hotel, residential and office space, and parking structures anchor the development.

During the press conference at the ROSSETTI offices, representatives from the stakeholders discussed the potential vision, impact and connectivity the project could bring to the city. Positioned as a 50-, 60-, 70- year decision, the project currently is at an ‘inflection point’ to determine whether Detroit should have a major sports and entertainment project or a jail at the front door of downtown.

The design drivers for the project are placemaking, connectivity, porosity and vibrancy, with the synergistic mix of uses facilitating this site to become the major anchor for Detroit’s burgeoning 300-acre entertainment district. Focusing on the need to restore and repair the city’s infrastructure, ROSSETTI’s emphasis on connectivity will weave together disparate areas and bridge the center of downtown at Campus Martius with the Eastern Market, one of the city’s most popular destinations, along the Gratiot corridor.

“Central to the project’s design is porosity and creating an uninterrupted experience between the public realm and physical buildings. In it, we explore how to unite cities with nature, people with habitats, sports with culture. We endeavor to have all anchor developments facilitating pedestrian movement horizontally and vertically through a ‘green belt’ podium,” said Matt Rossetti, CEO and President of ROSSETTI.

The podium will be open to the public at all levels from the ground up to the park-like setting along the rooftop nature trail, an 8-10 block continuous elevated greenspace that connects all four towers. New civic plazas defined by movement and a combination of hard and soft surfaces will offer year-round programming and spaces for civic gathering. The energy generated from the interconnected development will result in a vibrant district, with public uses spilling out onto the streets and rooftops of Detroit and continuing the vitality and momentum that the city is currently generating locally, regionally and internationally.

The project’s next steps involve further discussions between the City of Detroit, Wayne County, Rock Ventures, Platinum Equity, the MLS and other stakeholders to develop a solution that resolves the needs of the criminal justice system and the vision for this new district.

Author: Editor

Editor founded the Chicago Architecture Blog in 2003, after a long career in journalism. He can be reached at

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