From Pine View Farm

Developer Magic, Throwing Good Money after Bad Dept. 0

The local rag has a long, detailed story about the proposal to shovel money to a developer to build a hotel adjacent to the Convention Center so as to magically materialize tourists.

It reminds us that, for their previous trick, consultants predicted that the Convention Center itself would magically materialize tourists.

That hasn’t worked out so well:

Like the Pavilion before it, the convention center has never made money. The city spends about $5.8 million a year to operate it and takes in $3.6 million in user fees, leaving an annual city subsidy of about $2.2 million. (The city further pays $15.1 million a year on debt service for the facility, money that comes from the Tourism Investment Program, which is derived primarily from hotel, restaurant and amusement taxes).

Believers in developer magic are doing the same thing that believers in magic tricks have always done, as illustrated by the paragraph that preceded the one I quoted above:

They are listening the magicians’ patter rather than watching their hands.

“The center’s success should be measured by its overall impact on the community,” said Courtney Dyer, convention center manager. “It draws people to the city who wouldn’t otherwise come, it fills hotel rooms during our traditional slow season, and the space is there as a resource for local groups.

“I’d say it’s doing what it’s supposed to do.”

Yes indeedy-do it sure is. It’s filling developers’ top hats with money.

This magic act will be same as the Convention Center and the Pavilion that preceded it: Developer magic will appear another white elephant while disappearing the money.

How touching the faith in developer magic.


Comments are closed.