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Contractor says 80,000 tons of Palace of Auburn Hills material will be reused, recycled

Most of the Palace of Auburn Hills will be recycled or reused in future development, the demolition contractor says.

The day after it was revealed that a portion of the former Detroit Pistons home will be imploded this spring to culminate the demolition process, Scott Homrich, CEO of the Carleton-based Homrich Inc. contractor, said about 80,000 tons of material — concrete, and ferrous and nonferrous scrap material — will stay out of landfills.

That amounts to about 90 percent of what’s left over being reused in future redevelopment or recycled off site, with the remaining 10 percent being disposed of, Homrich said. The property is about 110 acres with roughly 80 of it being available for new buildings.

The ferrous material consists of plate and structural steel containing significant amounts of iron, while the nonferrous material is things like electrical wirings containing copper.

That 90 percent figure is not unheard of. For example, when Detroit-based Adamo Group tore down the Georgia Dome in 2017, about 97 percent of the materials was recycled or reused, according to the contractor’s website.

From the outside, demolition likely won’t be apparent for a while, Homrich said, because the interior — including the stadium seating, concourse, restaurants, and souvenir shops — will be demolished first, almost concurrently. Then the exterior demolition will take place as 30-ton to 125-ton excavators, some of them with higher reaches, bring down the structure.

Ultimately, come the spring following demolition activities in January, February and March, the implosion will take down 21 concrete beams holding up the roof about 150 feet off the slab.

“We’ll let gravity bring it to the ground,” Homrich said Wednesday.

At the most, about 15 workers will be on the site at any given time, with four or five excavators.

Hours for the demolition haven’t been established, but something like 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Fridays seems likely, Homrich said. A demolition permit has not yet been issued, the city said Monday night.

A joint venture between Livonia-based real estate development and management company Schostak Bros. & Co. and Detroit Pistons owner Tom Gores paid $22 million for the Palace site in June with plans to turn it into R&D, tech, office and flex space.

It was then, after years of speculation, that it was revealed the arena, which hosted its last event April 10, 2017, would be demolished.

When the nearby Pontiac Silverdome was torn down, 1,700 tons of structural steel were recycled as were 1,800 tons of rebar, Crain’s reported at the time. Three hundred pounds of dynamite were to be used to blow up the stadium’s upper ring, a process that unexpectedly took two tries.

The Palace demolition is expected to cost between $3 million and $4 million, a source familiar with the matter said Wednesday.

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