Joe Louis Arena: May It Rest in Pieces

August 10th, 2010 by Greg Eno Leave a reply »
Joe Louis Arena is the only sports venue I know of that became obsolete the moment it opened for business.

One of the best things to come from yesterday’s announcement by Mike Ilitch that he and his family are seriously pursuing a purchase of the Detroit Pistons is that it probably will accelerate the construction of a new arena to replace JLA—one that will likely house both the Pistons and the Red Wings.

Such an arena can’t come a moment too soon.

Ilitch has been associated with the Red Wings for so long, I’m sure there are folks who think he had a hand in the creation of Joe Louis Arena. He didn’t. JLA opened in 1979, and Ilitch bought the Red Wings in 1982.

Where The Palace of Auburn Hills was built ahead of the curve in 1988, JLA was erected with no vision, no sense of convenience, no adroitness.

Parking is a nightmare. A fellow could have a heart attack climbing the steps leading up to the joint. The concourses are too narrow. There aren’t enough restrooms.

JLA’s exterior looks like a warehouse. It has the aesthetics of war-torn Europe, the warmth of ...

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