Lexus Velodrome in Detroit could be repaired, reopened soon

·2 min read

Collapsed since a Dec. 13 power outage and generator failure, the Lexus Velodrome in Midtown Detroit could be repaired and reopened to the public as early as February.

The Lexus Velodrome in Detroit still sits deflated on Thursday, Dec. 30, 2021 weeks after high winds damaged the facility on Monday, Dec. 13th.
The Lexus Velodrome in Detroit still sits deflated on Thursday, Dec. 30, 2021 weeks after high winds damaged the facility on Monday, Dec. 13th.

A representative for the manufacturer of the venue's damaged inflatable dome has visited the site and estimated that repairs could take about one week to a week and a half to finish once work begins, said Dale Hughes, executive director of the nonprofit Detroit Fitness Foundation, which owns and operates the velodrome.

If the repair process goes smoothly, the indoor cycling racetrack could potentially be back in action by early February, he said. Insurance discussions also are ongoing, he said.

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“Our goal is to be up and operating in the next 30 to 45 days," Hughes said Thursday.

The current outlook, he said, "is much better than what I was expecting when I first arrived on the scene" of the collapse, he said.

The dome sustained puncture holes as it fell when interior light poles pierced through its material. While some water got under the dome in the weeks since the collapse, the wooden 166-meter banked cycling track at the center of the venue remains in good shape, according to Hughes.

The Lexus Velodrome in Detroit still sits deflated on Thursday, Dec. 30, 2021 weeks after high winds damaged the facility on Monday, Dec. 13th.
The Lexus Velodrome in Detroit still sits deflated on Thursday, Dec. 30, 2021 weeks after high winds damaged the facility on Monday, Dec. 13th.

“Basically, think of it as a big tent over the track. So, in one respect, you couldn’t have a better cover," he said. "There are some areas with some leakage, but not on the track surface, so we are pleased about that."

The lead theory for why the velodrome collapsed is that is backup generator failed during a period of days when metro Detroit saw strong winds that resulted in power outages.

"That’s what’s being investigated now, and that’s what they think is what caused the dome not to stay inflated," Hughes said.

The Lexus Velodrome, at 601 Mack Ave., opened in 2018 and is one of the few venues of its kind in the country. It also features a separate four-lane walking track around its perimeter that is popular with community groups and seniors.

The velodrome's racing season is October through March and indoor cycling races can draw anywhere from 50 to 500 participants and spectators. In November, the velodrome hosted the USA Cycling Madison Track National Championships for the first year of a planned five years.

The Lexus Velodrome in Detroit still sits deflated on Thursday, Dec. 30, 2021 weeks after high winds damaged the facility on Monday, Dec. 13th.
The Lexus Velodrome in Detroit still sits deflated on Thursday, Dec. 30, 2021 weeks after high winds damaged the facility on Monday, Dec. 13th.

General membership rates for the cycling track are $79 a month or $379 a year. Rates for just the walking track and fitness studio are $5 for one visit or $30 for 10 visits.

The nearly $5 million cost to build the velodrome was financed entirely by a wealthy anonymous donor who enjoys cycling and wanted to share the sport with more people.

Lexus is the velodrome's naming rights sponsor under a multiyear deal.

Contact JC Reindl: 313-222-6631 or jcreindl@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @jcreindl. Read more on business and sign up for our business newsletter.

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Lexus Velodrome in Detroit could be repaired and reopened soon

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