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Monday, October 10, 2011

Keeping Stadium Neighborhoods Alive in the Off-Season

There’s only one thing more depressing come October than the end of baseball season: the sight of an empty ballpark. All those vacant seats, the hot-dog concessions closed, the field empty, and the gates padlocked until the following spring.

It’s a bitter scene for baseball lovers. But it’s an economic conundrum for cities, too.

“A large percentage of most facilities built in the last 25 years have been financed with public money,” says Patrick Rishe, an associate professor of economics at Webster University. “That creates a problem, because whether you’re talking about football, or baseball in particular, what else are you going to do with those facilities?”

There’s an extensive debate among economists about whether public financing for stadiums is ever as good a deal for cities as sports fans would like to believe. But at least this much is certain: the economics of empty stadiums are grim…..

Progressive Field in Cleveland may have come up with the best solution yet to the empty ballpark. Last year for the first time, the team converted the field into a vast winter playground. The Indians laid an ice track around the field for skaters and built a snow-tubing hill from the bleachers onto the outfield. “Snow Days” drew to downtown Cleveland last winter about 50,000 people who otherwise would have been bundled up at home. And because Progressive Field sits nestled in the city’s downtown (when it was constructed in the early 1990s, planners intentionally spurned surface parking lots), the event fed into the surrounding entertainment district and restaurants.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 10, 2011 at 02:20 PM | 85 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: business, indians

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   1. Javy Joan Baez (chris h.) Posted: October 10, 2011 at 06:13 PM (#3958346)
There’s an extensive debate among economists about whether public financing for stadiums is ever as good a deal for cities as sports fans would like to believe.

Really? Is there actually a debate on this? I thought economists had pretty universally concluded that they aren't a good deal at all, but I may not be remembering correctly.
   2. bads85 Posted: October 10, 2011 at 06:17 PM (#3958348)
And because Progressive Field sits nestled in the city’s downtown (when it was constructed in the early 1990s, planners intentionally spurned surface parking lots), the event fed into the surrounding entertainment district and restaurants.


The surrounding entertainment districts aren't that close to Jacobs' Field, nor are they family friendly, so I doubt their was much "feeding" going in.
   3. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: October 10, 2011 at 06:30 PM (#3958359)
Hey, Yankee Stadium features not one but TWO mediocre college football games. Top that, Cleveland!
   4. WillYoung Posted: October 10, 2011 at 06:38 PM (#3958363)
When SABR was in Cleveland, I remember leaving one of the games after it ended (both games I attended had long rain delay) and discovering all the bars around the field were closed at 1130 on a Friday night. At least we had whiffle ball...
   5. Lassus Posted: October 10, 2011 at 06:38 PM (#3958364)
I'll echo #1. Has there ever even been one iota of corporeal proof that public financing is a good deal for any human being other than the owner of the team?
   6. The District Attorney Posted: October 10, 2011 at 06:45 PM (#3958373)
Keeping Stadium Neighborhoods Alive in the Off-Season
At last, an area where the Mets have nothing to worry about. Cars need to be dismantled all year round!
   7. tshipman Posted: October 10, 2011 at 06:47 PM (#3958374)
I'll echo #1. Has there ever even been one iota of corporeal proof that public financing is a good deal for any human being other than the owner of the team?


Well, AT&T wasn't built with public financing, but its construction has been a pretty huge boon to the area around the ballpark. It's really revitalized what was a sort of bad neighborhood. It's also used year-round, with Opera, concerts, football games and other events at the park.

So to the larger question of whether new ballparks can provide a big economic impact, I would say yes.
   8. Cowboy Popup Posted: October 10, 2011 at 06:48 PM (#3958377)
I've only been to half a dozen MLB parks, and most of them aren't near anything worthwhile. I wonder if that's fairly common.

Nats stadium is near absolutely nothing other than a McDonald's. It's a long walk to get to get to anything resembling a night life (I guess the hipster part of Eastern Market is the closest neighborhood). But they've had posters up for years showing how awesome the area will be in the future ("Coming soon!").

IIRC, Florida's stadium is surrounded by a parking lot and nothing else. I'm less certain about Citizen's Bank Park but I think it is also is fairly removed from anything.

NYS is near stuff, but nothing that's really appealing or interesting or that I would go to if NYS wasn't there. Haven't been out by Citifield in a long time, but I don't remember much around there either, although I rarely explored the area.
   9. Lassus Posted: October 10, 2011 at 06:53 PM (#3958381)
Well, AT&T wasn't built with public financing, but its construction has been a pretty huge boon to the area around the ballpark. It's really revitalized what was a sort of bad neighborhood. It's also used year-round, with Opera, concerts, football games and other events at the park.

So to the larger question of whether new ballparks can provide a big economic impact, I would say yes.


I was living in San Francisco prior and during AT&T's construction, left just before the inaugural season. It wasn't so much sort of a bad area as sort of an empty area, in my memory. It's not like it turned around a Tenderloin, or the area immediately north of Candelstick. I've been there since, and it's definitely been a boon to the area, but I don't know if that exception proves any rule. Regardless, it wasn't public, so even if my memory is off, I'm still wondering which of these publically-financed new parks has been an economic boon.


Haven't been out by Citifield in a long time, but I don't remember much around there either, although I rarely explored the area.

No need, there's nothing there. I mean, Quuens is there, and people live there, within walking distance, but, that's really it.
   10. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 10, 2011 at 06:54 PM (#3958382)

Nats stadium is near absolutely nothing other than a McDonald's. It's a long walk to get to get to anything resembling a night life (I guess the hipster part of Eastern Market is the closest neighborhood). But they've had posters up for years showing how awesome the area will be in the future ("Coming soon!").


My sis who lives in DC says that area is supposed to be the next gentfrified area. Seems like it has a lot going for it being on the water. I can see a case for a publicly financed stadium being a catalyst for that kind of development and turning around an area that for some reason has a market impediment. But yea, overall they're not good investments and most cities don't even do a good job maximizing the development utility (i.e. the parking lagoons).
   11. . Posted: October 10, 2011 at 07:00 PM (#3958387)
I'll echo #1. Has there ever even been one iota of corporeal proof that public financing is a good deal for any human being other than the owner of the team?

No. American political and economic history in the last 30 years has consisted of little more than the public treasuries being looted, in one way or another, to further enrich the already rich. The stadium shakedowns are a prime example; making it worse is the fact that the baseball-playing facilities were only one part of the giveaway -- the owners leveraged the seats and the baseball field to get bars, malls, restaurants, and the functional equivalent of inner-stadium apartments (luxury suites) built for them.

And so now if you want to go to a baseball game, you can't simply pay a baseball game's price; you have to pay an add-on cover charge for the bars, malls, and restaurants at the stadium. On top of the extra taxes you have to pay to help build the park.

All that public money for bread and circuses. Truly an appalling episode in the nation's history.
   12. Krusty Posted: October 10, 2011 at 07:07 PM (#3958392)
CitiField is in the middle of Flushing, but nothing you'd want to go to, per se. NYS is in the Bronx, and the most that can be said for it is that it's a pretty short jaunt back to Manhattan.


Wrigley stands out to me, in that it's actually situated in a neighborhood, and the bars don't suck. Moreover, there are actual cool places to go not too far away. This stands in stark contrast to The Cell, which has a great view of Chicago and not much else.

Some cities have their stadiums bunched up together, and I never really understood the point of that. Philly, KC, PBurgh and Detroit all do this, and there's not really anything going on save for the stadiums. Well, in Detroit, you're not too far from Slow's BBQ. But, otherwise, there's not much.
   13. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 10, 2011 at 07:09 PM (#3958394)

Some cities have their stadiums bunched up together, and I never really understood the point of that. Philly, KC, PBurgh and Detroit all do this, and there's not really anything going on save for the stadiums. Well, in Detroit, you're not too far from Slow's BBQ. But, otherwise, there's not much.


You don't have to build two sets of parking lots and you have the same easy highway access.

But its stupid because baseball should be a sport for downtowns, without a huge parking lot, while football should probably be in a sea of parking.
   14. Lassus Posted: October 10, 2011 at 07:13 PM (#3958397)
From my recollection, Safeco and whatever the Seahawks stadium is called are a.) next to each other and b.) near a lot of nice urban places in Seattle. I'm pretty sure we used to walk to the Kingdome from my house in the Central District.
   15. Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: October 10, 2011 at 07:17 PM (#3958399)
Target Field is right downtown in easy walking to many places (including where I work). Still I very much doubt it is any kind of benefit to the taxpayers who paid way too much for it.
   16. . Posted: October 10, 2011 at 07:19 PM (#3958400)
Not only do stadiums at best siphon off economic activity that would take place anyway (just not around them), but there's no real evidence that losing a sports franchise brings any economic harm to an area. (**) Is there any evidence that the economy of the Seattle area is worse off because the Sonics moved to a city more willing to give them a sweetheart deal? Is Montreal worse off because the Expos now play in an aesthetically unpleasing stadium the District of Columbia couldn't come close to affording?

(**) Beyond psychic harm.
   17. Shredder Posted: October 10, 2011 at 07:23 PM (#3958403)
PetCo is short walking distance to the Gaslamp District. Though my recollection is the Gaslamp District sort of took off before they put the stadium there. San Diegans would probably know that better than me.
   18. SouthSideRyan Posted: October 10, 2011 at 07:30 PM (#3958410)
The area around Columbus's hockey arena was built up quite nicely, though I don't know how much of that was public.
   19. Perry Posted: October 10, 2011 at 07:32 PM (#3958412)
The area around Coors, on the edge of downtown, was completely revitalized by the ballpark. Now it has a zillion good restaurants and bars within walking distance, starting right across the street. Lots of new (and very popular) loft/apartment housing in the area, too.
   20. ?Donde esta Dagoberto Campaneris? Posted: October 10, 2011 at 07:38 PM (#3958418)
Speaking of stadium related "stuff"- there's lots of local talk (not just in the sports world) today about the the Raiders now coming back to LA. With Al out of the picture, the thinking is that it makes sense for the Raiders to move back to the (proposed) new LA stadium, which would allow Oakland the freedom to convert the area around Mt. Davis back into a decent baseball yard- thereby solving a big problem for the A's as well. In some respects, it seems like a nice fit for just about everyone involved (excepting Raiders fans in Oakland that is.) Obviously, it's mostly blather at this point, but I'm wondering if that talk is going on up North as well. Anyone hearing or reading anything like that?
   21. McCoy Posted: October 10, 2011 at 07:45 PM (#3958423)
Nats stadium is near absolutely nothing other than a McDonald's. It's a long walk to get to get to anything resembling a night life (I guess the hipster part of Eastern Market is the closest neighborhood). But they've had posters up for years showing how awesome the area will be in the future ("Coming soon!").


Nationals Stadium is right next to the metro so you just hop on the metro and go wherever you want. No real need for a night life neighborhood there. But they do have the beer garden next to the park after games.


The stadium in Pittsburgh had some stuff near it and was a rather easy walk to the rest of the city but I will say the rest of the city reminded me of a revitalized suburban downtown area. I stayed in the area I believe they called the Strip or something like that and the place was a ghost town with not a lot of shops, restaurants, and bars.
   22. Swoboda is freedom Posted: October 10, 2011 at 07:57 PM (#3958426)
Has there ever even been one iota of corporeal proof that public financing is a good deal for any human being other than the owner of the team?

All the studies that the teams paid for have shown that stadiums are a boon for the area. No independent study has shown that however.
   23. rr Posted: October 10, 2011 at 08:14 PM (#3958434)
Though my recollection is the Gaslamp District sort of took off before they put the stadium there.


Correct. As part of the deal, Moores got control of a lot of the real estate around the ballpark area, but PETCO didn't "revitalize" the Gaslamp. Downtown SD was doing fine without the ballpark; you don't need a fancy baseball stadium to gentrify/yuppify/commercialize a downtown area. Some of the people I know who dealt with LL during the PETCO beatdown were part of putting many of those earlier plans in play.

One reason the Chargers, about whom the town as a whole cares more than it does the Padres, are having trouble getting a new stadium is that PETCO hasn't really brought the huge benefits, including the Padres spending more money on players, that we were told it would. That and CA's massive debt (along with municipal debt) have put the Chargers in play for LA (along with the Raiders, Rams, Vikings, and Jaguars).
   24. charityslave is thinking about baseball Posted: October 10, 2011 at 09:12 PM (#3958481)
The Mercedes Benz* Louisiana Superdome has a few things to do in the area ;). I know, not baseball, but if you ever get a chance to go to N'Awlins on a Saint's home weekend (or any other weekened for that matter), you should. World class dining and great watering holes within walking distance. And if my memory serves, the Superdome was a year over year moneymaker for the state, but it's multipurpose and is booked every weekend.

*new name as of last week
   25. vortex of dissipation Posted: October 10, 2011 at 09:23 PM (#3958496)
Is there any evidence that the economy of the Seattle area is worse off because the Sonics moved to a city more willing to give them a sweetheart deal?


Yes. The area around Key Arena suffered the almost simultaneous loss of the Sonics and the other major tenant, the Seattle Thunderbirds hockey team of the WHL. Restaurants snd bars in the area lost 50% of their sales:

The neighboring businesses, however, have been hit hard. Jill Arno, Queen Anne Chamber of Commerce executive director, said businesses near KeyArena reported a 50 percent decline in sales in the past year.

"It's hard to separate the post-Sonics effect from economic downturn because they're overlapped," she said. "The restaurants in this area — not all of them, but a lot of them — counted on those nights with the Sonics as being their big nights and a big boost for their business, and they don't have that now.

"While KeyArena is getting some events in there, and obviously concerts are great and bigger events are good, the other events don't fill out the arena to the same extent that the Sonics would. You just don't see events that bring the 40-, 50-year-old crowd. I know they're trying over there, but right now everybody is hurting."


http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/nba/2009404613_keyarena01.html
   26. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: October 10, 2011 at 09:38 PM (#3958531)
Yes. The area around Key Arena suffered the almost simultaneous loss of the Sonics and the other major tenant, the Seattle Thunderbirds hockey team of the WHL. Restaurants snd bars in the area lost 50% of their sales:
That sucks for those restaurants, but it doesn't answer the question of if the Seattle economy is hurting. If people who used to go watch a Sonics game and drink at a bar before or after are now going out to their local place more often, or seeing more movies, or whatever, the net effect is unchanged.
   27. CrosbyBird Posted: October 10, 2011 at 09:43 PM (#3958536)
Not only do stadiums at best siphon off economic activity that would take place anyway (just not around them), but there's no real evidence that losing a sports franchise brings any economic harm to an area.

I don't know that I'd go that far. The right stadium in the right area definitely has potential to build a local economy.

The real issue is that most of these complexes are built in crappy neighborhoods because the land is cheap and there aren't many special interests fighting the construction. If the West Side Stadium had passed, it almost certainly would have revitalized that area of the city a bit. It doesn't take much for a neighborhood to explode in Manhattan.
   28. Lassus Posted: October 10, 2011 at 10:03 PM (#3958551)
If the West Side Stadium had passed, it almost certainly would have revitalized that area of the city a bit. It doesn't take much for a neighborhood to explode in Manhattan.

Ehhhhhhhh that's a little odd to say. I lived on 10th avenue and 29th street when this stadium was being discussed. I'm not sure what sort of revitalization this area needed at that point that wasn't already being brought about by the galleries, clubs, High Line, and Chelsea.
   29. . Posted: October 10, 2011 at 10:15 PM (#3958560)
Ehhhhhhhh that's a little odd to say. I lived on 10th avenue and 29th street when this stadium was being discussed. I'm not sure what sort of revitalization this area needed at that point that wasn't already being brought about by the galleries, clubs, High Line, and Chelsea.

And that kind of organic, small-business development that asks nothing of anyone other than users is infinitely superior to the corporatist-cum-socialist "development" exemplified by pro sports in the United States.

Writ more broadly, the former is the kind of thing our economy should be all about; the latter is the kind of thing that's driven the economy and country into (**) the ground.

(**) Or "much closer to" for the insistent.
   30. Daunte Vicknabbit! Posted: October 10, 2011 at 10:19 PM (#3958567)
Safeco has Salumi, the greatest sandwich shop in the country (at least that I have visited) a very short walk away. Its also close to an Elysian brewpub and is basically in Chinatown. Wrigley and Fenway obviously have areas that kind of exist around them; Citi is not far from some good ethnic food but otherwise is a parking lot park.

ATT is just fantastic in every way, and if I recall correctly I had South-worthy chicken and waffles at a hole in the wall within walking distance.
   31. Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: October 10, 2011 at 10:22 PM (#3958571)
The stadium in Pittsburgh had some stuff near it and was a rather easy walk to the rest of the city but I will say the rest of the city reminded me of a revitalized suburban downtown area. I stayed in the area I believe they called the Strip or something like that and the place was a ghost town with not a lot of shops, restaurants, and bars.


You must have been at the Hampton Inn or somewhere else in the tiny no man's land between the Convention Center and the actual Strip. The Strip is the all-purpose shopping area that gets incredibly crowded on weekend mornings, it has tons of restaurants and more dance clubs than anywhere else than probably the South Side. Although this is limited to Penn Avenue and part of Smallman Street.

The North Side, where PNC Park and Heinz Field are, is basically what all these other cities have in mind when they envision things cropping up around the stadium in a nondescript area. There's a couple big office buildings that ensure the area isn't desolate in the middle of the day, some condos, and about fifteen sports bars. Then across the river you have the actual downtown which has everything, although nothing except restaurants is open after 4:30 PM.

Of course this is the area where Three Rivers Stadium already was, which never led to much of a downtown feel itself.

CitiField is in the middle of Flushing, but nothing you'd want to go to, per se.

You must not be in the market for bargain auto parts, cash only!
   32. McCoy Posted: October 10, 2011 at 10:36 PM (#3958583)
I dunno. I walked past the convention center for quite awhile. Walked past a theater and such and the place was a ghost town. I think I went there on a Friday afternoon and left on a Saturday afternoon and there just didn't seem like a lot of stuff.
   33. thetailor (Brian) Posted: October 10, 2011 at 11:42 PM (#3958643)
CitiField is in the middle of Flushing, but nothing you'd want to go to, per se.

Citi Field is not in the middle of Flushing ... in fact, it's not even technically in Flushing. It's actually in Flushing Meadows - Corona Park. It's also not even in the middle of anything. As pointed out above, it's surrounded by parking lots, next to a highway, bordered by the Iron Triangle of chop shops...

I've been dying for them to put something -- ANYTHING -- fun or safe to do around Citi Field. I'd be glad to spend my money there. Right now there is only McFaddens which (surprisingly) isn't horrible.
   34. Karl from NY Posted: October 10, 2011 at 11:43 PM (#3958646)
Newark has, by most accounts, made out pretty well with the new arena for the Devils and that the Nets are sharing until the Brooklyn arena is ready. Could be that hockey and basketball arenas work out a lot better than baseball and football stadiums. The smaller scale facility costs less, doesn't need quite as many acres of parking, and is easier to fill up the schedule with other stuff like college sports and concerts.
   35. Swoboda is freedom Posted: October 11, 2011 at 12:15 AM (#3958780)
I don't know that I'd go that far. The right stadium in the right area definitely has potential to build a local economy.

But you are comparing it to doing nothing. If the government spent $500-$800 million building a factory or some development or giving incentives to new companies to move in, or just regularly dumping money out of a helicopter, the neighborhood would probably be a lot better than with a stadium.
   36. Chris Needham Posted: October 11, 2011 at 12:33 AM (#3958829)
Of all the stadiums, I'd say Nats Park has the highest chance of being a net positive to the local economy. It's positioned in the middle of three different jurisdictions. While the substitution effect means there's a chunk of DC entertainment dollars being subbed for DC entertainment dollars, the city is also drawing quite a few dollars from Virginia and Maryland that otherwise would not have been spent in DC
   37. Squash Posted: October 11, 2011 at 12:49 AM (#3958934)
Well, AT&T wasn't built with public financing, but its construction has been a pretty huge boon to the area around the ballpark. It's really revitalized what was a sort of bad neighborhood. It's also used year-round, with Opera, concerts, football games and other events at the park.

So to the larger question of whether new ballparks can provide a big economic impact, I would say yes.


I was living in San Francisco prior and during AT&T's construction, left just before the inaugural season. It wasn't so much sort of a bad area as sort of an empty area, in my memory. It's not like it turned around a Tenderloin, or the area immediately north of Candelstick. I've been there since, and it's definitely been a boon to the area, but I don't know if that exception proves any rule. Regardless, it wasn't public, so even if my memory is off, I'm still wondering which of these publically-financed new parks has been an economic boon.


AT&T is also really close to downtown, a ton of people live all around it, and it doesn't have miles of parking lots cutting it off from the rest of the world. AT&T is really an ideal situation (in many ways). I think the question is if a stadium with all the normal problems can revitalize an area for the long term all year round.

EDIT: I see the rest of the thread has more or less cited all these factors as impacts.
   38. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 11, 2011 at 01:45 AM (#3959024)

The area around Coors, on the edge of downtown, was completely revitalized by the ballpark. Now it has a zillion good restaurants and bars within walking distance, starting right across the street. Lots of new (and very popular) loft/apartment housing in the area, too.


Yes, I think Denver is usually the crown jewel for downtown ballpark revitalization proponents. Baltimore to a lesser extent. Cleveland used to be, but a lot of the momentum from the Jake has died off. Problem is, so many cities didn't really do what those cities did and instead built parks in the middle of nowhere with no real chance for ancillary development.

That sucks for those restaurants, but it doesn't answer the question of if the Seattle economy is hurting. If people who used to go watch a Sonics game and drink at a bar before or after are now going out to their local place more often, or seeing more movies, or whatever, the net effect is unchanged.


That's right of course, but I do think there is the effect of getting suburbanites to spend their money downtown. While its true that stadiums often just suck up entertainment dollars that were being spent elsewhere in the metro area, I do think there is a benefit to having those dollars sucked up by the central city instead of the flung out suburbs.


Newark has, by most accounts, made out pretty well with the new arena for the Devils and that the Nets are sharing until the Brooklyn arena is ready. Could be that hockey and basketball arenas work out a lot better than baseball and football stadiums. The smaller scale facility costs less, doesn't need quite as many acres of parking, and is easier to fill up the schedule with other stuff like college sports and concerts.


I think that's right. In the three cities I have lived in - Columbus, OH, Washington, DC and Kansas City - multipurpose indoor arenas have all been very successful in being a catalyst for area development. Whether the public subsidy was worth in a cost/benefit analysis, I can't say.
   39. puck Posted: October 11, 2011 at 02:05 AM (#3959043)
I do think there is a benefit to having those dollars sucked up by the central city instead of the flung out suburbs.


What's the benefit? I suppose it depends a lot on what city area we're talking, but you'd think a downtown area would be more able to product equivalent spending than the suburbs.
   40. puck Posted: October 11, 2011 at 02:11 AM (#3959049)
Field of Schemes* author Neil deMause has an article up at Slate arguing that the NBA lockout is not likely to have any significant effect on local economies. A lot of the info/claims in the article are germane to the discussion here.

(*Anyone read Field of Schemes, btw? Is it good?)
   41. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 11, 2011 at 02:36 AM (#3959085)

What's the benefit? I suppose it depends a lot on what city area we're talking, but you'd think a downtown area would be more able to product equivalent spending than the suburbs


How? A lot of suburbanites only come downtown for events, and while they're there, they eat and drink and maybe shop. That's the one thing downtowns have going for it that suburbs find difficult to replicate - as centers for events and "the place to be." Without a game or concert or event, Joe Suburb will just eat at the TGI Friday's down the street.
   42. Krusty Posted: October 11, 2011 at 03:15 AM (#3959135)

Citi Field is not in the middle of Flushing ... in fact, it's not even technically in Flushing. It's actually in Flushing Meadows - Corona Park. It's also not even in the middle of anything. As pointed out above, it's surrounded by parking lots, next to a highway, bordered by the Iron Triangle of chop shops...


Queens. It's QUEENS. My knowledge of Queens extends to Astoria, and sort of Forest Hills.

McFadden's always sucks no matter what. The charm of Wrigleyville is that the bars are actually halfway decent. Well, some of them, at least. Alright, fine. Lucky's has huge sandwiches.
   43. Ebessan Posted: October 11, 2011 at 03:22 AM (#3959143)
I'm less certain about Citizen's Bank Park but I think it is also is fairly removed from anything.

They're trying to half-ass the L.A. Live concept and tie the complex together a little more, but because the city is already ridiculously compact, there's not a ton that you could add.
   44. base ball chick Posted: October 11, 2011 at 03:35 AM (#3959150)
youse guys are leaving out houston

bitterly

just like the national media

- the improvement in downtown on ALL sides of the stadium since it was built is unbelieveable - LOTS and LOTS of places to go to after the game right close to the ballpark and downtown was a lot of old broken down buildings and only the club at the hilton - and don't ask me why they had a Hilton downtown in 1999 - i guess SOMEone besides dollar stores did business downtown

there is now expensive apts/condos on the freeway side of the ballpark that were old abandoned warehouses and tenements.
   45. Something Other Posted: October 11, 2011 at 03:38 AM (#3959153)
“A large percentage of most facilities built in the last 25 years have been financed with public money,” says Patrick Rishe, an associate professor of economics at Webster University. “That creates a problem,...
There's no problem. The point of public financing of stadiums is to funnel huge sums of money to team owners. No one over the age of two thinks otherwise. It's working just as planned.

There’s an extensive debate among economists about whether public financing for stadiums is ever as good a deal for cities as sports fans would like to believe. But at least this much is certain: the economics of empty stadiums are grim…..
The usual horsh!t. "Republicans asserted today the world was flat. Democrats claimed it was round. In other news..." If you put a stadium in a busy urban area, you can surround it with things that people will want to go to anyway, and you can create that kind of district at a fraction of the cost of a stadium
   46. Nolan Giesbrecht Posted: October 11, 2011 at 04:04 AM (#3959167)
Not from Toronto, and have only been to a few Jays' games, but the Skydome seems to be dead center of the entertainment/night life of Toronto. No idea if it all grew up around the stadium, or if the dome was built there because it was a good area already.
   47. puck Posted: October 11, 2011 at 04:10 AM (#3959175)
How? A lot of suburbanites only come downtown for events, and while they're there, they eat and drink and maybe shop. That's the one thing downtowns have going for it that suburbs find difficult to replicate - as centers for events and "the place to be." Without a game or concert or event, Joe Suburb will just eat at the TGI Friday's down the street.


I guess I don't understand why money spent in a city is better than money spent in a suburb.
   48. Something Other Posted: October 11, 2011 at 06:39 AM (#3959206)
Cities are more important and better places than suburbs.
   49. KingKaufman Posted: October 11, 2011 at 07:12 AM (#3959210)
That sucks for those restaurants, but it doesn't answer the question of if the Seattle economy is hurting. If people who used to go watch a Sonics game and drink at a bar before or after are now going out to their local place more often, or seeing more movies, or whatever, the net effect is unchanged.


Right, and the reverse is true about AT&T Park. It's not like people suddenly went out and started spending money at restaurants and bars in San Francisco when AT&T went up. Just that a chunk of them started spending more of that money around Third and King and less of it on Union Street or wherever they'd been spending it before. Study after study shows no net effect, just substitution.

I do think there is the effect of getting suburbanites to spend their money downtown. While its true that stadiums often just suck up entertainment dollars that were being spent elsewhere in the metro area, I do think there is a benefit to having those dollars sucked up by the central city instead of the flung out suburbs.


In San Francisco anyway, this is silly. Rush hour is coming IN to the city on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, and it's been that way since long before AT&T showed up. I can see how the Nats stadium could plausibly draw money from Virginia and Maryland to the District that wouldn't otherwise have come, but I'll believe it when I see proof of it.

I guess I don't understand why money spent in a city is better than money spent in a suburb.


When you are the mayor or on the city council or are even just a resident of the city, isn't it obviously better when money is spent in your city than in some other city?
   50. Joe Kehoskie Posted: October 11, 2011 at 09:05 AM (#3959222)
I agree that most new stadiums were sweetheart deals for the owners, but I find it almost comical how these deals generate so much more vitriol and outrage than just about any of the countless other government boondoggles, such as TARP, the so-called "stimulus," tax loopholes, earmarks, etc., etc.

If the $1,000,000,000,000 "stimulus" was seen as a good idea, then it's kind of odd for people to get so fired up about spending $500,000,000 on a new stadium that will last 20-30 years and keep or attract a major pro sports team. At $500 million per new stadium, the "stimulus" could have paid for 2,000 new stadiums. Neil deMause, et al., have done some great work analyzing these deals, but when it comes to inefficient government spending, new stadiums are the proverbial pee in the ocean.
   51. villageidiom Posted: October 11, 2011 at 11:40 AM (#3959235)
I agree that most new stadiums were sweetheart deals for the owners, but I find it almost comical how these deals generate so much more vitriol and outrage than just about any of the countless other government boondoggles, such as TARP, the so-called "stimulus," tax loopholes, earmarks, etc., etc.
Save it for the government boondoggle thread.
   52. Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: October 11, 2011 at 11:51 AM (#3959240)
I guess I don't understand why money spent in a city is better than money spent in a suburb.

Cities need revenue. Suburbs don't need revenue, they have tons of revenue from property taxes.
   53. . . . . . . Posted: October 11, 2011 at 12:07 PM (#3959243)
Similarly, I don't see how people can look at these stadiums as so pointless. Isn't the point of these stadiums to trigger just enough development in a neighborhood (often with mandated development as a condition for the government largesse) that it triggers a positive feedback loop of gentrification and development in a neighborhood? I'm no economist (obviously) but that concept seems sound and is very similar, on a micro scale, to Keyensian economics and stimulating consumption in the national economy, no?

I don't think that the positive effect of a stadium is necessarily soaked up by a substitution effect. Obviously, if you hold the number of people coming into the city on a given night constant, then substitution will dominate. But why should that be so? If a city creates more attractive neighborhoods for living/going out, then the number of people choosing to live or go out in that city can increase. Choosing to spend Friday night out is a choice that I make based upon the cost of going out, the convenience of going out, and the fun I expect to have. Why would "nights out per person" be a constant among different metro areas, why wouldn't that be a malleable number, and why couldn't well-planned development increase that number under certain circumstances?

Seems to me the problem lies in the quality of the the stadium and associated development, not in the fundamental concept.
   54. Lassus Posted: October 11, 2011 at 12:11 PM (#3959244)
Seems to me the problem lies in the quality of the the stadium and associated development, not in the fundamental concept.

When awesome or even perfectly cromulent stadiums trigger none of the development of which you speak, how on earth can that not be a problem with the fundamental concept?
   55. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: October 11, 2011 at 01:23 PM (#3959264)
Nats stadium is near absolutely nothing other than a McDonald's. It's a long walk to get to get to anything resembling a night life (I guess the hipster part of Eastern Market is the closest neighborhood). But they've had posters up for years showing how awesome the area will be in the future ("Coming soon!").


Seems to me the problem lies in the quality of the the stadium and associated development, not in the fundamental concept.

Right here in DC you've got a counter-example to Nats Stadium in the MCI / Verizon Center, which was built with private money on land owned by the city, and leased to Abe Pollin on very favorable terms. Whatever you may think of the overall social impact of gentrification, there's no question that the Verizon Center has strongly contributed to the overall economy of the Chinatown neighborhood.
   56. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 11, 2011 at 01:30 PM (#3959267)
Cities need revenue. Suburbs don't need revenue, they have tons of revenue from property taxes.

What? Suburban residential property is generally taxed at a much higher rate than urban property, b/c they lack the commercial tax base.

If anything, the exact opposite of your statement is true.
   57. Cris E Posted: October 11, 2011 at 01:42 PM (#3959272)
Suburbs have lower levels of crime and homelessness, they don't typically run/fund the county ER that acts as the health care safety net for the urban poor, and the composition of the tax base is cheaper to support (predominantly single family homes, malls and light industrial of recent vintage vs muti-unit, commercial and public properties that are frequently pretty old.) I'm with Snapper on this one.
   58. . . . . . . Posted: October 11, 2011 at 01:42 PM (#3959273)
When awesome or even perfectly cromulent stadiums trigger none of the development of which you speak, how on earth can that not be a problem with the fundamental concept?

I've seen cites for some of the specific stadiums above, and I've seen cites to studies that analyze stadiums in aggregate. But I don't see any evidence that no stadiums ever work.

More broadly, if they don't work, why? How is a stadium any different than any other sort of planned government stimulus? If you accept that stimulus spending can work (which we all do) then why are stadiums so obviously different?
   59. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 11, 2011 at 01:48 PM (#3959275)
I guess I don't understand why money spent in a city is better than money spent in a suburb.


Healthy city-centers lead to healthy metros. Detroit has some really nice affluent suburbs, but that's not what people think of when they think of the metro, they think of the dying city center. Downtowns are the engines for the metro. As mentioned above they also require more revenues as they have higher costs associated with greater crime, more poverty, greater transit needs, older infrastructure, etc.
   60. . Posted: October 11, 2011 at 01:53 PM (#3959277)
Right here in DC you've got a counter-example to Nats Stadium in the MCI / Verizon Center, which was built with private money on land owned by the city, and leased to Abe Pollin on very favorable terms. Whatever you may think of the overall social impact of gentrification, there's no question that the Verizon Center has strongly contributed to the overall economy of the Chinatown neighborhood.

All that's happened there is that things that used to go on downtown and that would be going on downtown but for the arena, are now going on 10 blocks to the east.

As to DC capturing money spent by suburbanites, there's a better way -- slapping a commuter tax on the suburbanites who come in to work in the city and use its public services most of the day. That method has the additional advantage of staying in the city treasury, as opposed to being siphoned off by Abe Pollin and now Ted Leonsis.

The bottom line is that virtually none (and probably actually none) of these deals are arms-length transactions driven by economics. The teams don't pay typical rent on the building, they don't pay typical property (or use) tax on the building, they don't pay the true cost of the land the building's constructed on, and they get roads built that are constructed solely to make it easier for people to get to their private business. And part of these subsidies go into the pockets of athletes who don't need the money and blow most of it on stupid #### -- many of whom have no real tie to the city and spend little time there other than playing in the subsidized building. Tax money was taken from people who don't care a whit about basketball, and put in the pocket of Antoine Walker to gamble away.

I like sports as much as the next guy, but the adult in me understands fully that these projects are corporatist giveaways to crony capitalists.
   61. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 11, 2011 at 01:54 PM (#3959278)
Healthy city-centers lead to healthy metros. Detroit has some really nice affluent suburbs, but that's not what people think of when they think of the metro, they think of the dying city center. Downtowns are the engines for the metro. As mentioned above they also require more revenues as they have higher costs associated with greater crime, more poverty, greater transit needs, older infrastructure, etc.

Healthy city centers are economic engines (e.g. NY, Boston, San Fran, Chicago). Unhealthy city centers are burdens on the surrounding areas.

They are concentrations of political corruption and waste. A permanent dependent class maintained to support the political machines that dominate urban politics.

Suburbs general have far more competitive politics (not one party dominance) and smaller governing units, so can't get away with the same levels of theft, fraud and waste.

To take your example, Michigan would undoubtedly benefit if Detroit disappeared. Any additional tax dollars directed there would just be squandered.
   62. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 11, 2011 at 01:56 PM (#3959280)
I like sports as much as the next guy, but the adult in me understands fully that these projects are corporatist giveaways to crony capitalists.

100% correct.

You also have to recognize the benefit to the governing class. Politicians benefit greatly by having a ton of public spending with juicy contracts they can direct to politically connected firms. Not to mention plum jobs in public stadium authorities, and freebee tickets and other soft graft.
   63. Cris E Posted: October 11, 2011 at 01:57 PM (#3959281)
A permanent dependent class maintained to support the political machines that dominate urban politics.

OK so now Snapper is a little dark for me. But I will still stand by his earlier, less conspiratorial remarks.
   64. BDC Posted: October 11, 2011 at 02:17 PM (#3959292)
I had a thorough ground-level experience of the Arlington stadium district last night when a friend of mine discovered that his car had been towed from a Wal-Mart north of Cowboys stadium to a pound on Division Street south of the Stadium. We walked for a mile at night through broken sidewalks and broken glass, past cheap taquerias, auto shops, and deserted lots. The development of Cowboys Stadium is a bit surreal: it's like a UFO hovering just above the surface of a movie planet, with the usual chaos and destruction that prevails just below huge movie UFOs. People come in from even farther out in the suburbs, park, go into the stadiums, and emerge again to get quickly to their cars. The surrounding "neighborhoods" are sort of asphalt hell.

I hung out with my friend to get his car, but I myself had walked to the game from downtown Arlington, where I work (at the university). I am the only person who ever does this. Until you get within about a mile of Cowboys Stadium and complete blight takes over, downtown Arlington is actually both pleasant and on a decided uptick. I don't know if it's pure coincidence, but since the Stadium went up, about eight or ten restaurants have moved into downtown. The university is building its own basketball stadium and surrounding it with retail and residential development. There's certainly some kind of synergy between the excesses of the stadium district and the revival of the downtown, 2-3 miles away. It's hard to pin down, because it's not entirely related to people coming in for games and then leaving; business persists when there's no game on, maybe just because people are developing a sense that Arlington might be OK to visit (a sense that was totally absent in the years after the Ballpark was built). Before the A&M-Arkansas game a week ago Saturday, downtown Arlington was full of Aggies consuming lots of chicken and pizza. Many of them stayed the whole weekend and went to Six Flags or the baseball games. A town full of Aggies is possibly a mixed blessing, but it might beat total urban decay.
   65. Lassus Posted: October 11, 2011 at 02:17 PM (#3959293)
I've seen cites for some of the specific stadiums above, and I've seen cites to studies that analyze stadiums in aggregate. But I don't see any evidence that no stadiums ever work.

I'm not trying to be snarky, I'm legitmately curious - what percentage of publically funded stadiums have legitmately helped revitalize or economically stimulate the area surrounding it? My point is, if such revitalization works 10% or 15% of the time, that's the opposite proof of what you're looking for. The argument isn't "It never works, ever", it's "If it works one or two out of every ten times, how is that an argument to go for the eleventh time?"


If you accept that stimulus spending can work (which we all do) then why are stadiums so obviously different?

I'm not an economist, but that strikes me as two widely different types of stimulus. Too different as to be properly used as comparison, probably?
   66. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 11, 2011 at 02:33 PM (#3959306)
OK so now Snapper is a little dark for me. But I will still stand by his earlier, less conspiratorial remarks.

It's not a conspiracy, it's a bunch of individuals and groups acting in their own best interest.

If you're a political leaders who's support is based on delivering gov't programs, benefits and jobs, you need to ensure a continued supply and demand for those programs, benefits and jobs.

Political machines have always worked that way. They need to control the economic resources to control the voters. It explains their close ties to unions. They want to control the money.
   67. Swoboda is freedom Posted: October 11, 2011 at 02:38 PM (#3959310)
If you accept that stimulus spending can work (which we all do) then why are stadiums so obviously different?


The best stimulus is for infrastructure projects that can lead to more development. Stadiums are not bridges or roads that lead to more economic activity.

The other question is why should the stadiums get tax breaks in the form of bonds issued by the local authority. The bonds are tax free and are at a lower interest rate. I don't agree that cities or counties should fund stadiums (or really any other development zone), but why should everyone else in the country support them by giving them a tax break.
   68. tshipman Posted: October 11, 2011 at 02:41 PM (#3959314)
They are concentrations of political corruption and waste. A permanent dependent class maintained to support the political machines that dominate urban politics.


I think this is code for Black people vote for Democrats.

I'm not an economist, but that strikes me as two widely different types of stimulus. Too different as to be properly used as comparison, probably?


Not really. Stadiums benefit from a multiplier effect. You don't just pay to go out to the game, you pay to have drinks before hand. Stuff like that.
   69. . . . . . . Posted: October 11, 2011 at 02:48 PM (#3959321)

I'm not trying to be snarky, I'm legitmately curious - what percentage of publically funded stadiums have legitmately helped revitalize or economically stimulate the area surrounding it? My point is, if such revitalization works 10% or 15% of the time, that's the opposite proof of what you're looking for. The argument isn't "It never works, ever", it's "If it works one or two out of every ten times, how is that an argument to go for the eleventh time?"


Well, the position would be that these can work, but they obviously don't work in all circumstances. With a big sample of past projects to work from, you can review and borrow what was successful in the past to increase the odds of success in the current project.

I just dont see how stadiums are any different than all stimulus. Terribly inefficient? Check. Money siphoned off into the pockets of those with political influence rather than reaching the pockets of those who need it? Check.

The only difference with a stadium is that the ugliness is more transparent/draws more media attention. But this is the seamy underside of all public investment. It's been around as long as there have been cities and governments building things in cities.
   70. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: October 11, 2011 at 02:55 PM (#3959327)
I just dont see how stadiums are any different than all stimulus. Terribly inefficient? Check. Money siphoned off into the pockets of those with political influence rather than reaching the pockets of those who need it? Check.
There's also an issue of need in stimulus. Obviously "need" is relative, but I think we can all agree that no one has ever needed a new stadium whereas other stimulus can lead to the construction of things more important to the area in general (roads, transportation, schools, hospitals, whatever).

You can disagree about whether or not government should be paying for those things at all--Ron Paul and friends certainly would--but it seems beyond question that on the list of things government pays for that its citizens require on a day-to-day basis, a stadium has to be pretty much at the bottom of the list.
   71. Lassus Posted: October 11, 2011 at 02:56 PM (#3959328)
Well, the position would be that these can work, but they obviously don't work in all circumstances.

See, but "don't work in all circumstances" implies that it works in most, maybe half, and in no way is that true, or even close.


I just dont see how stadiums are any different than all stimulus. Terribly inefficient? Check. Money siphoned off into the pockets of those with political influence rather than reaching the pockets of those who need it? Check.

Well, your "WE ALL THINK STIMULUS WORKS, RIGHT" was transparent enough in the first place, there was no real need for this follow-up.

I am admittedly unsure how I feel about government-sponsored stimulus, but I am not yet convinced the types of stimulus that come from stadiums is similar. Your examples are simply sound bites/talking points.
   72. tshipman Posted: October 11, 2011 at 02:57 PM (#3959331)
With a big sample of past projects to work from, you can review and borrow what was successful in the past to increase the odds of success in the current project.


Yeah, and furthermore, I don't think it's particularly hard. A new stadium should:

1. Be located in a walking neighborhood with space/zoning for a number of restaurants/services
2. Be in a somewhat depressed area that would benefit from increased investment
3. Be well-served by public transit
4. Be in a scenic location that people will want to go to during the summer

I think most metros have an area that would fit the bill.

Edit:
Well, your "WE ALL THINK STIMULUS WORKS, RIGHT" was transparent enough in the first place


Wait, that was supposed to be snark? People legitimately don't think that public stimulus works? Really? Is Paul Krugman going to have to choke a bitch?
   73. Swoboda is freedom Posted: October 11, 2011 at 03:04 PM (#3959341)
I just dont see how stadiums are any different than all stimulus. Terribly inefficient? Check. Money siphoned off into the pockets of those with political influence rather than reaching the pockets of those who need it? Check.

The only difference is the final product. I think all big work projects are inefficient. Including those done by large corporations. Government one are worse. When you build a stadium, you are basically building a factory for a private company, something the government should not do. A local sports team does not provide a lot of good jobs, so the government does not get its money back. The owner makes out like a bandit.
   74. . . . . . . Posted: October 11, 2011 at 03:11 PM (#3959347)
Lassus, I'm not being snarky. I think stimulus should be viewed like chemotherapy - a necessary evil. Government needs to pay rich people money to build things.

Seriously, what's with the roads? When did that become the archetype of "efficient" stimulus spending? You know who benefits from roads? The guys who build roads. And the car manufacturers who make the cars who drive on the roads. And the town whose influential state senator arranges for the exit to be placed right by it's downtown. Etc. Why are roads useful? Because they encourage people/goods to go from point A to point B, which means there's more economic activity because doing generally = spending/creating. But you can engender the same effect with an attraction at point B that encourages people to drive from point A to point B, even if there's no new road. And encourages them to go out to eat an extra night a week before the ol' ballgame, encourages them to buy merchandise at the stores. Encourages the developer to build condos near the stadium - 'Home Plate Apartments - Downtown Living at its Finest!'. Encourages Whole Foods to put a supermarket in nextdoor, where all the yuppies (who would have moved to Boston or San Francisco) shop, because now they live in the Home Plate Apartments because Metropolis has a sports team and new condos and it's cool, y'all. So then there's a Whole Foods and mommy and daddy think, you know, we don't need to move to Suburbville to raise Junior, we can buy all the pesticide free apple juice we need right here in Metropolis. And so on and so forth.

Public works are public works, whether a stadium or a road. We don't "need" a stadium but we don't "need" 99% of the #### that we consume and produce in an economy. Maybe it would be a little better, optically, if we weren't actually handing these fantastically rich people a check for eleventy billion dollars, but make no mistake, your road or your high-speed train does the exact same ####### thing, only with slightly more subtlety.

And the joke of it all is: this is entirely necessary and better than all the other options.

Governance is a #####.
   75. BDC Posted: October 11, 2011 at 03:13 PM (#3959350)
1. Be located in a walking neighborhood with space/zoning for a number of restaurants/services
2. Be in a somewhat depressed area that would benefit from increased investment
3. Be well-served by public transit
4. Be in a scenic location that people will want to go to during the summer


The Ballpark and Cowboys Stadium fail on all four counts :)

Oddly enough, the one "shovel-ready" project that used Obama-era federal stimulus dollars in Arlington was improvement of access roads around Cowboys Stadium.
   76. villageidiom Posted: October 11, 2011 at 03:13 PM (#3959351)
I like sports as much as the next guy, but the adult in me understands fully that these projects are corporatist giveaways to crony capitalists.
In some cases they are corporatist giveaways to whoever is in position to leverage it out of government officials who (a) don't know what will actually work, but (b) are prone to action because it looks good and hides the fact of (a). It's not always done in an attempt to line the pockets of well-connected buddies; it's done in an attempt to look good to voters.
   77. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: October 11, 2011 at 03:19 PM (#3959358)
But you can engender the same effect with an attraction at point B that encourages people to drive from point A to point B, even if there's no new road. And encourages them to go out to eat an extra night a week before the ol' ballgame, encourages them to buy merchandise at the stores. Encourages the developer to build condos near the stadium - 'Home Plate Apartments - Downtown Living at its Finest!'. Encourages Whole Foods to put a supermarket in nextdoor, where all the yuppies (who would have moved to Boston or San Francisco) shop, because now they live in the Home Plate Apartments because Metropolis has a sports team and new condos and it's cool, y'all. So then there's a Whole Foods and mommy and daddy think, you know, we don't need to move to Suburbville to raise Junior, we can buy all the pesticide free apple juice we need right here in Metropolis. And so on and so forth.
I'm not sure this assertion is supported, to any substantial effect, by the evidence. Anecdotally from this thread, it would seem that sometimes it does and sometime it doesn't. I'm not sure where (or if) the break-even point occurs, but I don't think its anywhere near as cut-and-dried as you're making it out to be.
   78. Lassus Posted: October 11, 2011 at 03:22 PM (#3959361)
Public works are public works, whether a stadium or a road. We don't "need" a stadium but we don't "need" 99% of the #### that we consume and produce in an economy.

I just can't see how comparing stadiums and roads works here.
   79. . . . . . . Posted: October 11, 2011 at 03:23 PM (#3959363)
I'm not sure this assertion is supported, to any substantial effect, by the evidence. Anecdotally from this thread, it would seem that sometimes it does and sometime it doesn't. I'm not sure where (or if) the break-even point occurs, but I don't think its anywhere near as cut-and-dried as you're making it out to be.


What's been established in this thread and other stadium threads is that stadiums generally fail to increase economic activity.

My point is: isn't that true for all public works? Don't most public works, including roads, rails, etc, fail to have the predicted effect?

The question isn't whether stadiums are generally inefficient and fail to meet the predictions made by those shilling for them, the question is whether they are LESS efficient than other types of projects that the money would realistically be invested in.
   80. TerpNats Posted: October 11, 2011 at 03:24 PM (#3959365)
Denver is usually the crown jewel for downtown ballpark revitalization proponents. Baltimore to a lesser extent. Cleveland used to be, but a lot of the momentum from the Jake has died off. Problem is, so many cities didn't really do what those cities did and instead built parks in the middle of nowhere with no real chance for ancillary development.
Many of those "middles of nowhere" were sites adjacent to the current stadium housing parking lots, making it both cheaper and more expedient to build since some of the infrastructure was there. Philadelphia, for example, tried to do something different in planning a Phillies ballpark near its Chinatown, but problems with location and a nearby power substation scuttled the project, so the park was built a block to the east of the Vet. The Mets, Pirates, Yankees, White Sox, Brewers, Braves, Cardinals, Mariners and Reds took a similar path to get their new ballparks.

To its credit, Washington avoided the easy way out by building a park next to RFK and instead followed the Denver/Houston route of using a ballpark as the basis for ancillary development. D.C.'s problem is that the place opened just as the economy took a nosedive, and many of the planned projects had to be deferred. There are some apartments and office/retail space nearby (the Department of Transportation and Booz Allen Hamilton are close to Nationals Park), but for now the nightlife and entertainment aspect of the neighborhood hasn't fully developed. It will get there eventually, but it's not going to become a LoDo overnight.

A new stadium should:

1. Be located in a walking neighborhood with space/zoning for a number of restaurants/services
2. Be in a somewhat depressed area that would benefit from increased investment
3. Be well-served by public transit
4. Be in a scenic location that people will want to go to during the summer

I think most metros have an area that would fit the bill.
Agreed. But the rush to get new ballparks as a source of team income led many franchises (and communities) to ignore some of those items, especially the first, so that they wouldn't be left as a Tampa Bay or Oakland.
   81. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 11, 2011 at 03:30 PM (#3959372)
I think this is code for Black people vote for Democrats.

No, it's code for urban political machines don't give a #### about improving the economic condition of poor blacks, whites, hispanics, etc., except narrowly through patronage programs and jobs that they control.

It's the same system as when it was Irish and Italian bosses running machines that relied on poor white votes. Race has nothing to do with it.

The machines need poor consituents they can control. When the white ethnics started moving out of urban areas after WW2, the machines shifted to wooing minority voters. It's a major reason machine politicians always favor lots of immigration, even if it depresses wages for their constituents.

Machine politics needs dependent voters in order to work.
   82. OMJ, urban D machine Posted: October 11, 2011 at 03:53 PM (#3959393)
Semi serious question, out of the $700,000,000,000 spent on TARP, why not give every person in the country 1 million, and just use 699,700,000,000 for TARP? Total economic meltdown? No one goes to work?
   83. Swoboda is freedom Posted: October 11, 2011 at 04:30 PM (#3959429)
Semi serious question, out of the $700,000,000,000 spent on TARP, why not give every person in the country 1 million, and just use 699,700,000,000 for TARP? Total economic meltdown? No one goes to work?

First of all, TARP was a loan and was paid back. Second, under your system, everyone would only get $1, not $1 million. Your math is off. If all of TARP was given to people, everyone would get $2000 or so.
   84. OMJ, urban D machine Posted: October 11, 2011 at 04:38 PM (#3959435)
Good call. My pre-lunch posts tend to not be as strong.
   85. Something Other Posted: October 11, 2011 at 11:56 PM (#3959764)
Semi serious question, out of the $700,000,000,000 spent on TARP, why not give every person in the country 1 million, and just use 699,700,000,000 for TARP? Total economic meltdown? No one goes to work?
Actually, subsidizing the worst 2,000,000 mortgages to the tune of $5,000 a year keeps the rest of the dominoes from falling. Total cost: $10 billion. Double both and you're still up to only $40 billion. I realize there was less of a push for a bottom up approach, but $40b would have accomplished dramatically more than the $700b as spent. You'd have to do a number of other things to keep the problem manageable, strictly regulate credit default swaps and teaser rates on mortgages*** and so on, but it was all very manageable had the political will been there.

***Iirc the month payment on a 200k mortgage jumps from 1,300 to 2,000 a month when the interest rate goes from 5% to 10%. No wonder there were so many defaults.

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