Possible Shed In Detroit

Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick is looking to demolish the city’s vacant Ford Auditorium and build an amphitheatre in its place.

The new venue would cost an estimated $50 million, and has no timetable. George Jackson, president of the Detroit Economic Group Corp., said officials need about $20 million more to fund the project.

Most of that money reportedly would come from Downtown Development Authority funds, which already are earmarked for downtown improvements.

The plan would create a 3,000- to 4,000-seat amphitheatre, Jackson said. It would be part of a broader effort to update and improve Detroit’s Hart Plaza and the Civic Center, he told the Detroit Free Press.

Ford Auditorium was built in 1955 and was home for many years to the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. The orchestra moved to the refurbished Orchestra Hall in 1989, and the city closed Ford Auditorium soon after.

During the mid-’80s, the late Mayor Coleman Young reportedly toyed with the idea of razing Ford Amphitheater to build a city-owned aquarium on the site, but that plan went nowhere.