Yesterday I blogged about the “study” that was recently released in order to help justify the construction of an arena/events center in downtown Albuquerque. In my posting, I noted that the information in the “study” was not objective, but was designed instead to justify its construction.
Of course, while our arena faces its own unique issues, other cities have also fallen prey to arena/events center boondoggles sold by the convention and tourism industry. Check out this very interesting story from the New York Times about the failed Pyramid in Memphis.
Among the interesting factoids regarding the arena is the price tag of “only” $68 million ($109 million in today’s money according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics). This is obviously far less than the $400 million number being tossed around for the Albuquerque equivalent.
Also interesting is the divergence of opinion between regular people and those who are paid to promote these kinds of projects. Check out the quotes below:
“It’s quite a striking feature on the skyline,” says Ed Frank, the president of the West Tennessee Historical Society. “But as a citizen and as a taxpayer, it was a waste of money to build the Pyramid on low ground there. I have gone to events there, and I can say I’m not that impressed by the feeling inside.”
But Kevin Kane, the president of the Memphis Convention and Visitors Bureau, says the charm of the Pyramid depends on where you stand. Yes, it is a monument to failed dreams. But it also helped to energize downtown Memphis, he says. “From my view, the Pyramid more than paid for itself many times over.”