The thought of having a stadium overlooking the river is nice, and immediately Three Rives comes to mind.
We are not Pittsburgh, however. Here in town people have migrated away from down town and out into the city and the burbs. This makes down town a place to work, or visit - even for "residents".
Now the stadium has to work to "attract" people to either come down town or stay down town after work. In larger cities like NY and Pittsburgh their population centers are nearby these idyllic river front locations.
Our art community is small(but vibrant), and our museums are? For the most part not down town. Cinemas? Not down town either. Theater? Yep downtown. Other tourist attractions? At the beaches.
So the stadium will stand out as a perceived "attraction".
Do locals shop down town? Hardly
Do they eat down town? Hardly (given the number of restaurants that have closed recently)
So while it's nice to think of the picture perfect venue near the water - for practical purposes it makes no sense. We don't have a blighted down town area and land space is limited so the stadium is now the after thought instead of the first piece of some magical puzzle to develop an area that doesn't need "development". We don't have swaths of abandoned factories that need a new use. We don't have large abandoned properties like rail yards etc.
Think about it this way. If we don't build the stadium what happens? Mr Shoninger will still develop that property, and the second parcel the city is looking at will still get developed. The city will have incurred no new debt and collected property taxes on both parcels of land.
I don't get the infatuation with down town. If I'm a business man looking for existing office space I would certainly consider it as there's good space available. If I'm a big box retailer I wouldn't touch down town - not enough people there "naturally" (ie living there). I would be looking at Mayfaire, College road, and the Eastwood corridor.
Down town is what it is for the exact same reasons the stadium shouldn't go there - people don't live there.
It's the exact same reason why they want public help to build it. They know its risky (and costly). To minimize the risk they want the city to build it, and own it.
Here's a thought for you. Lets pass a city ordinance that says no city funding for any "pro" stadiums here in town.
What do you think Mandalay will do? If the answer is they will pull out then we shouldn't be building it either.
We are a desirable location - we just need to be slightly "bigger" to make it profitable, even if they have to pay for the cost of building the stadium themselves. I think it could be done privately financed but I'm going to say the city should not be involved for various reasons. If this means we wait a couple of more years for a stadium?No big deal to me. If it means losing out on the down town location? Again no big deal to me (and probably a better deal for the business if located elsewhere).
There is certainly no rush.
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