Caution signs on the convention super highway

Submitted by Ed Morrison on Mon, 01/17/2005 - 20:37.

Scott Suttell, the managing editor of Crain’s Cleveland Business, throws up a caution sign to convention center proponents. He points to a USA Today article on a new Brookings report.

The report deflates the argument that convention center investments make a lot of sense. The reason: a soft national market and an over-supply of space. The market is not down just a little. It has fallen 30% to 50%, according to the report.

At the same time 53 cities have either built or expanded their convention centers. Another 44 cities have work planned or underway.

The report is already raising questions in St. Louis and Anchorage.

Bruce Katz of Brookings comments: "Convention centers incite an 'arms race' mentality among local leaders, and unfortunately this is an expensive competition with few winners.

"Cities are taking on mountains of new debt hoping to grasp a brass ring, when the right focus is investing in core foundations of long-term, high-road economic growth. The transformative investments that revitalize cities and enhance revenue are those that build on existing assets and create amenities for educated workers and their families." Read more.

You can read Scott's article here.

Here is the USA Today article.

Here is a summary of the Brookings report.

You can download the Brookings report here.

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