By: Diane Benjamin
Random thoughts on last night’s meeting:
Congrats to Alderman Lower and Alderman Mwilambwe. They stood up for citizens. Public comment was moved to after the presentation against Lower’s wishes, Mwilambwe forced public comment before the Council “voted” to keep the project alive. Not one speaker supported it. Funny how none of the aldermen used their microphones on the voice vote, according to the paper the vote was 7-1 to proceed. Lower was the lone NO vote.
Where was Alderman Fruin? Evidently showing up to Council meetings is now optional, and citizens don’t have a right to know why the person they elected is absent. It’s becoming a pattern for at least one to be missing from almost every meeting.
The proposal is for 129 rooms, needing at least 69% occupancy. That’s 89 rooms a night.
Mentioned: Giebelhausen is responsible for the website supporting the project
Mentioned: Revenue bonds could be issued – the City not on the hook if revenues don’t materialize. (Then who is?)
Mentioned: If revenue streams don’t materialize, City will be responsible for bond payments.
Mentioned: The revenue produced would be mostly NEW. (Why it would be NEW wasn’t stated.)
Mentioned: The conference center needs two events a week
Mentioned: The underground infrastructure would need to be studied, may drastically increase the cost to the City.
Mentioned: Parking Revenue $500,000 a year.
(Why would anybody pay to park downtown when other hotels have free parking?)
Mentioned: Worst case scenario, we do nothing
Mentioned: Taking property to a higher and better use (is government’s job)
The Coliseum had a restaurant that went out business
David Sage forced the presenters to admit there is no proof a hotel would help the Coliseum. Stop saying it would Tari.
There is no proof building a hotel downtown wouldn’t just shift business from one hotel to another and one restaurant to another.
The Coliseum is owned by the City, so it’s Hales/Council/Renner’s fault that it does not meet expectations.
This project is largely private and has a better chance of succeeding because the owners would be risking THEIR money and, to a lessor extent, yours.
That said, the project is “If we build it, they will come”.
“Hope” they come.
“Hope” other hotels aren’t put out of business.
“Hope” conferences are scheduled.
“Hope” people want to eat downtown.
“Hope” this plan works better than the TIF where the Front and Center Building was supposed to be apartments.
“Hope” the drinking millennials inhabiting downtown on the weekends don’t keep people away.
“Hope” the chairs aren’t just being rearranged on the Titanic.
“Hope” nobody notices the land price is a bailout for Huff’s. (Transparency Giebelhausen?)
Giebelhausen: “Hope” Tari gives my son an “A”.