Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Mistakes: Being Very Anxious

We don't have a convention center hotel in Pittsburgh, but those hopes are being revived by the probable slots parlor that seems to be in Pittsburgh's future. The slots revenue could bridge fiscal gap, a $34 million gap. So, once again, the marketplace in Pittsburgh becomes a slave to bogus spending with lots of zeros in the price tag.

PG news:
"We're very anxious to get the project moving," authority Executive Director Mary Conturo said.

Citizens --- talk like that above makes me scared. There is good money going after bad money. And, the leadership in this town is anxious to spend more and spend it quickly.

Friday's meeting will be the first between the authority and Forest City, the firm selected by Mayor Tom Murphy and former Allegheny County Chief Executive Jim Roddey in April 2003 to build the hotel.

The bid process, the open evalution, the design contest, the competitive call --- all happened when?

Forest City and the Sports & Exhibition Authority are nearly a year behind schedule in breaking ground for the hotel, originally planned for fall 2003, and still have not finalized a formal development agreement for the project.

Wrong! The hotel is five years late. It should have been done along with if not BEFORE the convention center. This isn't one year. The convention center should NOT have been built without the hotel. We've got a WHITE ELEPHANT on our hands now. Prior planning fumbles can't be sugar coated into some simple one-year blunder. This has been a long-term, repeated, warned of blunder.

"It's just an organizational meeting to get the project moving forward again," she said.

Another great reason why Mayor Tom Murphy should resign. His agenda is stalled. He can't do even what HE wants to do. Pittsburgh can't heal itself with him in office.

Still, the fact the authority and Forest City are talking again is good news to many local tourism officials who believe the lack of a headquarters hotel is preventing the convention center from reaching its full potential.

This might be good news for the tourism officials -- and it is BAD news for the locals. The local tourism officials can all fit within a parked taxi cab in Pittsburgh. Local blood suckers might make for a better description.

Members of the Greater Pittsburgh Hotel Association have been split on the need for a new hotel, however, with proponents believing it will help bring more conventions into town and opponents fearing it will create a glut of rooms and drive down rates.

Even those in the industry -- not local tourism officials -- are split on the hotel's merits. We have a real hospitality trade. We have a real B to B infrastructure and trade show marketplace. But, what we also have is a small minority of folks who are quick to be on the take.

Old News: The lack of hotel space near the convention center has been an impediment to some groups considering Pittsburgh for conventions.

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