Heywood Sanders (Convention Center Follies) continues to pop up all over the place, talking about the perils of expanding convention center space in cities across the country. Here's a summary of his latest:
Governing.org (book review): "Do We Really Need to Keep Building Convention Centers?"
San Diego Free Press (reprint): "Do We Really Need to Keep Building Convention Centers?"
[T]axpayers deserve an honest debate about whether building or expanding a convention center is an effective way to achieve them. And the debate should be informed by realistic economic-impact projections. What we don't need is a continuation of the charade in which elected officials, local business leaders and convention consultants tout benefits that at least some of them know will never materialize.
760 AM KFMB (radio interview): "Should we spend $800M to expand the S.D. Convention Center?"
A state appellate court struck down the mechanism being used to fund a $520 million expansion of the San Diego Convention Center. The decision stated that a levy on hotel property owners was unconstitutional and now the two sides, including the people of San Diego, are at an impasse.
The Tennessean: "Music City Center skeptic tackles convention ‘follies’"
Sanders called the Metro Council vote to approve the financing for Music City Center the “product of politics, deals, consultant studies — from CSL, KPMG, Tradeshow Week, C.H. Johnson, and HVS — that extended back to April 1999” and through the terms of two Nashville mayors, Bill Purcell and Karl Dean.
The San Diego Union Tribune: "Convention Ctr plan includes stadium"
Terzi thinks a larger convention center could boost annual hotel room taxes from the present $170 million to $250 million and the increase could be used to repay construction bonds for the project. The risk is that the increase might fall short of projections and the city would have to fall back on existing hotel tax revenues that support other city services. Heywood Sanders . . . said many cities have projected higher attendance revenue from expanded convention centers that never materialized. “You’re facing a situation where folks competing against you can simply outbid you,” he said.
The Chicago Sun–Times: "The Watchdogs: Millions in taxpayer subsidies to lure conventions"
McPier also has awarded a total of $3.8 million in subsidies for three International Housewares Association shows. The largest of those — nearly $2 million — came in March 2012, when the housewares group had threatened to move its show to Orlando, according to records McPier gave the state. About 60,000 people attended that convention, providing an $84 million boost to the economy, including $5.8 million in taxes, McPier reported.
“This is a far more generous — and far more outrageous — use of general revenue funds than I have seen in other places, but everybody does it,” says Heywood T. Sanders. "Everyone is competing themselves into the ground."
San Diego 6 CW TV: "Expanding the convention center could be expensive mistake, expert says"
With the future of the convention center expansion at a crossroads and city leaders weighing a host of options, a leading researcher says pushing forward with any form of expansion could be an expensive mistake.