The Detroit-based Smith Group, and architect and engineering firm, detailed plans for the new $315 million Ford Field recently. New amenities for the new 65,000-seat Detroit Lions stadium include better seating with a closer view of the field, diverse suites and the reuse of the former Hudson’s warehouse in downtown Detroit. The main Hudson’s retail building, long vacant, was destroyed in 1998 to make way for new stadium projects.

Ford Field is going up next door to the new Detroit Tigers baseball stadium, Comerica Park, which debuted this season.”There’s more emphasis on fan satisfaction in the new field,” says Randal Swiech, an engineer and vice president of Smith Group. “We’ve put more seats along the sidelines, instead of the end zone. We’ve got 120 suites, all different sizes and layouts. Some of them are situated to make it feel like you’re outdoors,” he told

The suites were constructed along an exterior wall of the former Hudson’s warehouse. The six-story building was incorporated into the stadium design.The inside of the warehouse will be transformed into offices, shops and restaurants, Swiech says.

Another major new design change, as closed football fields go, is a wide glass exterior wall, facing the Detroit skyline.”There aren’t many domed stadiums that can boast a view like this one,” asserts Swiech.The idea mirrors the Comerica Park open stadium, in which the city skyline is fully visible past the outfield wall.”Both projects make spectators part of the downtown experience,” he says.

To get more room, and not create a tall eyesore for the city, Swiech says the field is being installed 45 feet below street level. Patrons will walk into the stadium and down into the field.The stadium is set to open in 2002. The Lions are trying to break their current contract, which has them playing at the Pontiac Silverdome in Pontiac until 2005.

Want to continue reading?
Become a Free ALM Digital Reader.

Once you are an ALM digital member, you’ll receive:

  • Unlimited access to GlobeSt and other free ALM publications
  • Access to 15 years of GlobeSt archives
  • Your choice of GlobeSt digital newsletters and over 70 others from popular sister publications
  • 1 free article* every 30 days across the ALM subscription network
  • Exclusive discounts on ALM events and publications

*May exclude premium content
Already have an account?


© 2024 ALM Global, LLC, All Rights Reserved. Request academic re-use from All other uses, submit a request to [email protected]. For more information visit Asset & Logo Licensing.

Dig Deeper


GlobeSt Net Lease Spring 2024Event

This conference brings together the industry's most influential & knowledgeable real estate executives from the net lease sector.

Get More Information


Join GlobeSt

Don't miss crucial news and insights you need to make informed commercial real estate decisions. Join now!

  • Free unlimited access to's trusted and independent team of experts who provide commercial real estate owners, investors, developers, brokers and finance professionals with comprehensive coverage, analysis and best practices necessary to innovate and build business.
  • Exclusive discounts on ALM and GlobeSt events.
  • Access to other award-winning ALM websites including and

Already have an account? Sign In Now
Join GlobeSt

Copyright © 2024 ALM Global, LLC. All Rights Reserved.