Monday, April 23, 2012

Kansas City's Hockey Arena Experience

Last week, I told you that California's Stockton is now nearly $1 billion in debt as a result of a failed hockey arena that was going to revitalize the downtown and solve a crime problem. This morning, I told you that Reading's Sovereign Center is operating at a $700,000 loss. Now the WSJ reports that Kansas City, which built a $850 million entertainment district including yet another hockey arena to revive its downtown, generates less than one-third of the revenue needed to pay the bonds. City officials, of course, still consider it a smashing success.

Transformation? More likely, a bond rating downgrade.

19 comments:

Jon Geeting said...

The risk from the hockey arena just makes it even more important to build the office buildings and increase the number of net EIT payers working in Allentown. The more EIT payers there are, the less risky it is.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Geeting, If you bothered to read the WSJ account, you'll see that an 8-block "power and light" district was created to do exactly what you think makes Allentown different. There are also references to similar failures in Rockford, Il and New York, where you live.

In all cases, they threw the word "transformation" around a bit.

You really don't know what you're talking about. You just think you do.

Anonymous said...

John, you are ignoring the fact the the EIT grab is most likely illegal, as has been clearly demonstrated many time on this and other blogs. Once the lawsuits reach the courts the real truth will come out and the city will be stuck with an empty lot and tons of debt. I'm all for creating jobs in Allentown.... but it can't be done by stealing private property and stealing tax dollars from surrounding townships. If a hockey arena is such a great idea, let the team owners pay for it. Heck i paid for my building downtown with my own money and spent another 1/2 million of my own money on renovations. All without government handouts or other peoples money. Thats how this country was built.... people taking a risk, providing a service or selling goods that are in demand, and making a profit, which is then used to grow your business. Yet here we have corrupt politicians telling us we want a hockey arena, even if we dont. Central planning is why communism failed.

Anonymous said...

You are just a downer.

Look at the IronPigs. You are comparing completely disparate cities and fan bases. The Phantoms are going to be a BIG draw.

Anonymous said...

Talk about comparing apples and oranges ...

... the IronPigs play baseball outdoors in the summer whereas the Phantoms play ice hockey indoors in the winter.

GIMME FREE HOCKEY TICKETS, I AM AN ENTITLED and LOYAL DEMOCRAT VOTER

Capri said...

... the arena built in Kansas City has NO TEAM.

I mean, I am an extreme skeptic that a sports arena is a key to a downtown revitalization project, but comparing a project that was proposed and built largely on speculation literally months before the real estate bubble burst and the economy crashed doesn't convince me that Allentown will face the same problems, should the NIZ withstand legal challenges.

Anonymous said...

Bernie Jon doesn't read much of anything, he goes by headlines. It's been entertaining pointing out the many times he links to an article that supports the opposing view!

He's a true piece of work. I'm just happy no one listens to him, he's so far radical left fringe he'd be better off moving to San Francisco.

Anonymous said...

The KANSAS CITY SCOUTS became the COLORADO ROCKIES ... who became the NEW JERSEY DEVILS --- who used to play just across the Hudson River in East Rutherford but have since de-camped for Newark.

This proves, if you happen to own a hockey team, it is always better to use someone else's money, preferably Big Government's (because they can always just print more, if necessary) if possible ...

FUTURE DOWNTOWN ARENA DOOFUS

Bernie O'Hare said...

Capri,

Allentown does not have a team either. They may very well walk. Stockton had a team that went to the playoffs. So does reading. Both are failures.

And pardon me, but the idea that we should build it now while everything is shitty sounds even more stupid than building when things are going gangbusters.

Capri said...

Well, my personal opinion is that I do think building an arena in downtown is shitty no matter how you slice it or what the economy does; forever and ever it will still be a dumb land use idea, as far as I'm concerned.

However, I consider the arena and the NIZ to be worthy of consideration as separate questions. I think the NIZ has a lot of potential for successful development, although the way the entire thing has been bungled from the start does not really give me confidence that it will succeed to its potential.

I'm not as opposed to developers turning profits by maximizing the incentives the way that you and other critics are - but I am skeptical of a single developer controlling almost all the property in question - if for no other reason than risk management. Certainly having this shoved down the throats of the Lehigh Valley with no community buy-in either inside or outside center-city Allentown is also an immediate disadvantage caused solely by the short-sightedness of those involved.

Anonymous said...

10:25

A lot of good comments on private versus public investment in your blog.

But, saying the NIZ is demonstrated to be illegal because of what the bloggers say is streching it a bit.

The suits aren't even close to being litigated. I haven't seen anything that CLEARLY makes it illegal.A couple of lawyers are advocating for their municipalities, but that's just their job.

A long time till this is resolved. The areana may be dead but the NIZ is an open issue.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Capri, Special legislation is ALWAYS illegal and contrary to our constitution. Too bad your grandfather is not around any more. He probably would have an interesting opinion.

I do not oppose the NIZ per se. They could do a number of things to satisfy me. 1) Agree that no EIT will be used, now or in the future; OR 2) Agree to a radius for the selection of businesses. If a business inside that radius moves into the NIZ, the taxes may not be used to finance; OR 3) reduce the size to the downtown area and see how that goes before getting nutz.

Most of these developers and township officials are more reasonable than I, so I suspect that a failure to reach a deal will be a result of Pawlowski's considerable hubris.

Anonymous said...

I know KC well. The arena project and surrounding Power and Light district have failed miserably, so far. Rents that skyrocketed ahead of the project are now laughable and tumbling. People who visit the arena for concerts travel directly in from North KC, Mission, and Overland Park. Then, they get back in their cars and go straight home. KC has accomplished every tenet of the liberal legislative agenda. The larger Metro of two million hosts professional sports teams, a symphony, universities, and one of the leading medical tech firms in the country. Yet, no amount of government spending could bring people back downtown.

Anonymous said...

It is a success, they cleaned up the blighted area!!

Anything after that is extra success.

Anonymous said...

The Penguins were gonna go to Kansas City , Pens ownership (Lemieux) used the arena being built in KC as leverage to threaten the state into funding his new arena. Shady on all levels.

Anonymous said...

4:33

I apologize for the confusion, but I do not know for a fact that it is illegal, which is why I said its MOST LIKELY illegal. Just my opinion, but formulated from some pretty compelling evidence i have read over the past few months. It will be up to the courts to decide that.....

Since I am downtown everyday I have spoken to many fellow business owners who all seem to agree, which certainly makes one think about it. Not to mention the way the developer sent his goons out to deal with these small shop owners (i wont name any as I dont want to create more trouble for these poor souls).

How can I think otherwise when the way this whole thing has been handled stinks of corruption? Bernie has done an awesome job pointing out these connections and I have yet to see a reasonable explaination. Just tons of stallng, name callng and secrecy from those involved. Is this how an honest project works?

Anonymous said...

The arguing will all end when the "Special Legilation" is declared unconstitutional. You heard it here first. Take $500.00 to the Sands and you'll lose it. Bet the Mayor $500.00 about the constitutionality and I'll bet you double your money.

Anonymous said...

Can't wait!! This is pro hockey country and a triple a team is a big bonus. Screw the niz and eit, hockey haters should move to death valley--no team there. Maybe one--20 mule team.

Anonymous said...

Allentown does not have a team either. They may very well walk. Stockton had a team that went to the playoffs. So does reading. Both are failures.

Wow. You know absolutely nothing about professional sports, do you?