The Free Press’s Allie Gross spoke with the manager of the asset management company that’s taking Joe Louis Arena apart, discussing the company’s sale of seats and everything else that is and/or isn’t nailed down inside the Joe:
Miedema, an asset management company hired to decommission the arena, anticipates that it will net the city $1 million with the sale of the seats. While the arena has 20,066 seats, not every chair is sellable.
“We’re essentially selling armchairs, not seats,” said Brennen Lubbers, operations Manager for Miedema, explaining that if everyone bought “pairs” of seats there would be a 20% loss. Because people are buying in an assortment of groupings, it’s something of a logistical puzzle figuring out how to deconstruct the arena. Especially with some individuals requesting specific seats.
Lubbers is liquidating the rink’s assets:
After the sale of the seats — of which Lubbers estimates that they will ultimately sell 14,000 — his company will move on to selling compressors, boilers, the HVAC unit, signs and the scoreboard.
A few items left in the building are marked with the Red Wings logo. Miedema hopes to be able to sell these, but they would need to get Olympia Development’s permission first.
Mike Ilitch purchased the Red Wings in 1982 from Bruce Norris, so while the city owns the stadium — built in the 1970s to stop Norris from moving the team to Pontiac — Olympia owns the logo.
According to Lubbers, Olympia “cannibalized” the building when it left, cutting out anything it could sell or repurpose, including a Red Wings logo in the carpet of the locker room. What is left belongs to the city and is up to Miedema to monetize.
“Anything that can be sold for the city, we will sell for the city,” he said.