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How Best to Incubate a Downtown? April 16, 2008

Posted by shaferfinancial in Uncategorized.
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The proposed new baseball stadium in downtown St. Petersburg is creating quite the controversy.  Not surprising given the budget cuts coming down the pike because of the new homestead amendment and lowered real estate values.  But, I’ve noticed there is a real divide in the thinking of the folks for and against the proposal.

This is a gross oversimplication but I believe holds much of the truth in it.  Folks who are against the project tend to think in terms of scarcity, competition for limited resources and “us against them.”  They tend to think that there is a limited supply of wealth and they are against the Ray’s getting any more, especially if it might take a little tax money for it to happen.  Whether its parking or consumer dollars spent, or tax money they look through the glass of scarcity.  Parking is limited, so the Ray’s will overwhelm the available parking. Consumer spending will all go to the baseball team, starving the other businesses.  Better spend our tax money on helping the poor not on helping the Ray’s.  We don’t trust the mayor, City and/or the Ray’s.

Folks who are for the project tend to see abundance and creativity.  This will only enhance the downtown business community by bringing in more folks and making them walk or take the trolley to get to the field.  A successful baseball franchise will carry over to other successful enterprises.  If more parking is needed, then more parking will be built creating more profitable enterprises.  $1.3 billion in constuction can only be good for the economy.  The additional taxes from the redeveloped current baseball site will help keep my taxes in check and make available more to help the poor.  Cooperation between City, private enterprises, and citizens is the key to keeping the City vibrant.

Folks, two different orientations to reality.  Two different paradigms.  One falling apart, the other gaining steam.  What you see is a blending of the old conservative/liberal categories into something unrecognizable by their adherents.  The under 40 crowd gets it inherently, while the over 40 crowd hangs on to their way of seeing the world by their fingernails.

Now, I have repeatedly pointed out that wealth creators see the world in a very different way than others.  This is a perfect example of the difference!  The real question for St. Petersburg is how best to incubate a vibrant downtown?  By assuming scarcity or cooperative ventures?



1. Terra Rossa - April 16, 2008

I thought you may be interested in this latest post on Terra Rossa from Whit Ayres titled “National Past Time Goes Green.” It talks about how the new Washington National Stadium leads off as one of the most environmentally friendly stadiums out there.

Terra Rossa is a blog that offers a free market perspective to solve our environmental problems.

Please check out the post and leave a comment on our scoreboard (aka comment section.)

Terra Rossa

2. Mike Licht - May 30, 2008

Washington, DC’s “Nationals Park” Stadium has cost the public over $610 million, which will never be recovered, tied up the District’s ability to issue bonds for other capital projects, and stimulated a run by other sports team owners — the soccer club now wants $225 million in public financing. Neither project will stimulate economic development or increase tax revenues enough to justify the public costs.

There may be good reasons to finance sports facilities with public funds, but economic development is not one of them.

3. shaferfinancial - May 30, 2008

The Ray’s deal is very different. We will be able to take back 86 acres and develop it for use other than a baseball stadium in exchange for $300M spent on a baseball stadium on 15 acres which is already a baseball stadium (spring training). No one that has looked at this deal even superficially has not come to the conclusion that the taxes brought in from the redevelopment of the 86 acre parcel would not be more than what the city and county will spend by a factor of 3-5. Even, Zimbalist, an economist who wrote the first critique of the economic development strategy of professional sport stadiums thinks this is a net positive deal for St. Petersburg.
Thousands of construction jobs during a time when the constuction industry is moribound is another positive factor.

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