Sunday, March 18, 2007

Downtown Baseball Stadium Question for all of you

I am getting relatively tired of hearing that moving our existing baseball stadium from one location to another is going bring people Downtown and that those people will spend money Downtown before or after the game!

Who actually believes this myth?

My family actually goes to either one or two Wizards games per year. We have been doing this for about six years. We often take either my mother or my mother-in-law with us...

Let me SPECIFICALLY describe exactly what happens when the Sylvester family decides to go to a Wizards game:

1. We generally get discounted or free tickets from some promotion that is going on. I think that we paid full price for tickets once when my wife's Uncle came into town and he wanted to see a baseball game...

2. We pile into my Toyota Camry forty minutes before the game and drive to Memorial Stadium.

3. We pay for Parking ($4 currently) and park the car.

4. We walk from the car into Memorial Stadium.

5. We find our seats and sit down. We often run into someone we know and say "Hi."

6. We watch the baseball game. I actually like watching an occasional game as does my wife, kids, and mother...

7. During the game we purchase supper inside the stadium. We generally eat hot dogs, peanuts, etc. For us it is part of the experience of going to a baseball game. We buy over-priced food of dubious quality because we think it is part of the "Baseball" experience...

8. When the game is over we watch the fireworks (We generally go on nights where there are fireworks.)

9. After the game we walk out to our car and drive home...

If the car is low on gas on the way to the stadium or on the way home I MAY stop and get gas.

When we come home and put the kids to bed... We end up putting them to bed fairly late on nights we take them to a Wizards Game...

That is exactly what we have done for 9 or 10 games over the last 6 years...

I do not think that we have deviated from that pattern a single time...

The only difference that will occur if the stadium is Downtown I will have to leave 10 minutes earlier and I will get home ten minutes later. We will spend the exact same amount of money. The tax dollars generated will now go to a TIF that will pay for a new baseball stadium...

I think we will go to the exact same number of Wizards games whether the stadium is on Coliseum or Downtown... We MAY go less Downtown; however, I doubt it...

What business owner is going to locate his or her business next to a baseball stadium in Fort Wayne if most people who go to a baseball game are like the "Sylvester family?"

If any of the readers of this blog currently go to Wizards games PLEASE tell us what you do before and after the game. Please tell us if you eat in the ballpark...

Mike Sylvester

38 comments:

Doug H. Sec, Lib Pty AC said...

Mike,

To answer your question I will use myself as an example.

I NEVER go to baseball games. Sports and I don't get along. However, were I to go to a game I think there is a higher probability that I would spend some (?) money downtown instead of by the stadium.

So I believe that more will be spent than you are thinking but less than the proponents of the move.

The real question is "Will enough be spent to JUSTIFY the move?" I believe that answer is a resounding no.

However I could be wrong. I haven't done a marketing study. We have many fine colleges locally. I am certain IPFW or Ivy Tech or Taylor University or St. Francis college have done a study that the project is basing its projections on.

Surely our local leaders wouldn't overlook excellent local resources that they could get for a minimal cost. Surely our local leaders would cooperate with local universities and produce such studies. Why don't we find the free (or near free) study they did and review it? Then we will have a better idea of what to expect.

Respectfully,

Doug Horner
Secretary, LPAC

Robert Enders said...

Coliseum Blvd has the mall. The mall has the capacity to accept a sizable portion of Wizard's fans spontaniously deciding to go shopping and dining afterwards. There are lots of restaurants along that strip.

I never go to Wizards games. I'm still cheesed off that they went with "Wizard" instead of "Falcon" like everyone else wanted. The idea was there was more possibilities for merchandise. So they choose a pagan name for a team that represents the City of Churches. That had to be the worst marketing idea since New Coke. I remember all those angry letters to the editor. I wasn't offended myself, just very disappointed. Marketing gurus should not be allowed anywhere near old American icons like baseball and Coca-Cola.

scott said...

Mike,

You have your experience, other people have theirs. Personally, I very much enjoy doing things before and after a ballgame - as a pedestrian.

When we went to an Indians game we walked around downtown Cleveland and went down to the riverfront after the game and got a bite to eat.

When we went to Pittsburgh we walked around the city before and after the game. One of the things I remember about Pittsburgh was the gyro place down from our hotel (which was across the river from PNC Park).

When we went to Cincinnati we parked in Newport and went to the Newport on the Levee mall and then walked across to the Reds game.

When we went to Detroit we first went to the casino and then headed out for our game.

When we went to Minneapolis we used public transit to go downtown from the Metrodome and we went to a GameWorks store and explored the city.

When we go to Chicago for Cubs games we usually get off the subway a station before Wrigley so that we can walk by the many bars and hang out before game time.

When we went to U.S. Cellular Field for a White Sox game, all we could do was get back on the subway.

When we went to Milwaukee, all we could do was go to the game and leave, because Miller Park is in the middle of a parking lot.

The design and integration of a ballpark matters. It is not enjoyable to go to a game in the middle of a parking lot and then have to drive in order to enjoy food and shopping before and after game time. It is much more enjoyable to walk and be part of an environment as opposed to being behind a windshield.

How can you know that most people will act like the Sylvester family if they've never had an opportunity to be different? Memorial Stadium is like Miller Park and U.S. Cellular Field: it's location doesn't lend itself to ancillary activity or even the possibility of it. It does not provide the fan experience I enjoy.

The Harrison Square ballpark would.

Just to clarify: this is my personal opinion. I'm not claiming to represent anyone but myself on this matter.

Frederick said...

Mike,

How many of the possible projects listed have private investors and investment associated with them? Isn't that the driving issue? Assuming the hotel stands on it's own as both the Mayor and Don Schmidt have stated, isn't the real issue the:

$ 5M investment for the stadium
$ 6M investment for 30K Sqft of retail space
$12M investment for 60 condos

invested by Hardball Capital? The investment and the fact that the offer has a burning fuse on it right now, I imagine are the driving factors.

The time to cultivate alternatives to the stadium, including private investment, was long ago. The current opportunity wasn't cultivated by the City at all, it fell into their lap after Hardball bought the Wizards. To cultivate alternative projects and private investment at this late date will require the City to pass on what is viewed as a "bird-in-the-hand".

The Hardball guys are skilled businessmen. They've become a Fort Wayne businessowner (to the degree the Wizards are a Fort Wayne business), they are taking advantage of the city's desire to develop downtown, they are striking a deal to get a $2.35 to $1.00 match from the City, they are controlling the clock, and if it succeeds, they get a new stadium and a recurring revenue stream. Is that a sweet deal or what, my hat's off to them.

If you want to check my math, I am using the Mayor's numbers (http://www.cityoffortwayne.org/images/stories/news/harrison/fact_sheet.pdf):

$25M City investment in the stadium
$10M City investment in the parking garage
$19M City investment in unspecified land acquisition costs and infrastructure improvements.

Hardball =$23M
City =$54M

$54M/$23M=$2.35

I believe the City has hit the hook on the project, and the decision the on stadium is ballistic. Barring a really bad financial deal, there is little, in my opinion, that will stop it from going forward. You may have a couple nay votes on City Council, but I believe it will pass with a solid majority.

I'll wrap up my thoughts with two words, Spiece Fieldhouse. Tom Speice privately developed the fieldhouse in an industrial park off Lima Rd and I-69 with no City funding that I am aware of. That industrial park is the most visited industrial park in the USA, #1. Spiece Fieldhouse has an annual attendance of over 500,000 people, and they have been operating at capacity for some time. And I think they are making money.

How many other Tom Spieces are there in and around Fort Wayne? Perhaps the City might consider discussing downtown redevelopment projects with Tom Spiece and others like him, as they begin thinking about the next phase of development.

LP Mike Sylvester said...

Scott:

How many Wizards games have you attended? You are talking about Cities other then Fort Wayne.

PLEASE describe your experience at Wizards games...

I have watched a lot of baseball games around the country as well; most likely less then you!

When I go to a Reds game I stay in a hotel across the river and walk to the game across the bridge... It is FUN.

When I go to a game in Chicago I eat breakfast before the game and WALK to the game...

When I go to a game in Kansas City I park in the parking lot and go to the game because there is NOTHING else you can do...

It all depends on the setting partner...

Please remember that you live in FORT WAYNE. You DO NOT live in Chicago and Fort Wayne will NOT become Chicago...

If you go to Wizards games and look around the crowd I think you will find that a fair number of the patrons are families with kids...

I agree that my family may not represent a majority of the patrons of Wizards games.

I am giving you one REAL WORLD example of a Wizards fan...

Please give me your version of what you do at a Wizards game not what is done in the rest of the Country...

Frederick:

No other investors have been lined about because NO OTHER RFP's were issued. There is no doubt in my mind that other investors COULD be lined up if other RFP's were issued...

You are right Hardball is getting a heck of a deal... They are getting a ton of public subsidies to move an existing baseball stadium...

I especially like your comments about Speice Fieldhouse. This SHOULD be discussed FURTHER.

I think the Spiece Fieldhouse is AWESOME.

Why was it not built Downtown?

The answer is simple, THERE IS NO CITY PLANNING IN FORT WAYNE. The Spiece Fieldhouse SHOULD have been built Downtown.

When Mr. Spiece started buying property and dealing with the City on zoning issues imagine what would have happened if the City had approached Mr. Spiece and said:

"Mr. Spiece we absolutely love your idea. We will give you for FREE a large swath of property in Downtown Fort Wayne. We will give you tax abatements, we will give you a bond for infrastructure improvements, and we will build you a Parking Garage for free. Please build it Downtown..."

Downtown would be 100% different today with just a small amount of City Planning...

We need City Planning.

We need ten more people like Mr. Spiece...

I wonder if our City consdiered talking to Mr. Spiece and asking his advice?

Mike Sylvester

Anonymous said...

Mike

Same deal - once or twice a year, always on firework night, never pay full price for tickets.

The only caveat is that its a lot easier when you live on the north side and work downtown to justify going to a game. Will I want to leave downtown, go home all the way out north, pack up the kids and the wife, only to drive all the way back downtown? I doubt it. That doesn't mean its not a good idea, that just sounds tiring, even on a Monday morning.

Kevin Knuth said...

Mike,

I believe that Spiece Fieldhouse was convereted from a warehouse to what it is today.

I have only gone to a handful of Wizards games over the years. I am much more likely to go if they are downtown, with restaurants and such within walking distance.

The problems with the Coliseum location is that it is further from my home and there is nothing to do without driving somewhere else afterward.

Put me in the "in favor of" column

Anonymous said...

Kevin

You make some good points and back in my single days I never went to a Wizards game for precisely that reason. I don't know if you have kids, but after the game I know at least for me I want to get them home and in bed as quickly as possible. The location of the ballpark would not affect my practice of driving directly from home to the ballpark, and directly from the ballpark to home.

Anonymous said...

Mike, all good points, especially about stadiums in LARGER cities. Personally for me it is a $$$ issue. Wizards game (w/free or discounted tickets) for a family of four, parking, concessions, souvenir for the kids..... I just droped $60 for this experience. This is why it happens only once a year (just like a hockey game).

I just can't seem to understand why a restaurant or shop located downtown would survive when the stadium would be used about 70 times a year.

This project will happen wether I like it or not. I will go to a game once, maybe twice a year.

It just seems to me that something that could draw year-round like an indoor waterpark or casino would have a better chance.

I think they blew it when they remodeled the coliseum instead of rebuilding it downtown.

David Corcoran said...

>I think they blew it when they remodeled the >coliseum instead of rebuilding it downtown.

They did blow it when they remodeled the Coliseum. Mike is right, it is all about poor urban planning and that is why we are all so polarized on this argument. If nothing existed, we might be more in favor of this. Spiece, Coliseum, Memorial Stadium, Glenbrook, Jefferson Pt, Coliseum Blvd. (don't get me started on that) .... all poor planning.

There is nothing we can do about that now. We failed ... suck it up and lets move on.

Anonymous said...

Although my main objection is financial, with the city seemingly intent upon simultaneously proving our "dumbest city in America" tag and besting Gary, Indiana for "biggest municipal giveaway to wealthy men who think it would be cool to tell chicks they own a baseball team," the idea pretty much sucks for economic development. It provides (and merely expands) the same "family-oriented" activities that we already have.

With the exception of our lack of decent paying, advancement potential providing, jobs, Fort Wayne is already "a great place to raise a family." Here is a hard reality: vibrant, exciting, cutting-edge downtowns aren't built around entertaining ten year olds. Here is a second hard reality: young, single and married but childless adults aren't looking for more recreational opportunities with YOUR 10 year old.

Single A baseball is about entertaining families (who don't give a darn whether the stadium is downtown or on Coliseum) and maybe a couple hundred hard core baseball enthusiasts (who will always want new and better for their beloved sport but will go to the game regardless). Those families, having spent three hours entertaining their kids at relatively high cost, are going to go home, tell the kids to go to bed or play Nintendo, and try to relax. They are not going to say "Hey kids, I've got another couple hundred bucks burning a hole in my pocket, let's blow it on fine dining at the Oyster Bar or Club Soda!"

The hype surrounding this project is amazing. The final hard reality is we are proposing to spend tens of millions primarily to provide entertainment for already adequately entertained children and for Chris Schoen and Jason Frier, who appear to be capable of paying for their own entertainment.

Kat Coble said...

I am not the anonymous directly above me. But whoever he or she is, is cracking me up.

Here is a hard reality: vibrant, exciting, cutting-edge downtowns aren't built around entertaining ten year olds. Here is a second hard reality: young, single and married but childless adults aren't looking for more recreational opportunities with YOUR 10 year old.

Exactly

Anonymous said...

Great point Kat.

Here is another:
They are not going to say "Hey kids, I've got another couple hundred bucks burning a hole in my pocket, let's blow it on fine dining at the Oyster Bar or Club Soda!"

Ummmmm......I do not believe you can take kids into Oyster Bar or Club Soda.

Anonymous said...

Mike, you said "What business owner is going to locate his or her business next to a baseball stadium in Fort Wayne if most people who go to a baseball game are like the "Sylvester family?""

Mike, is at least within the realm of possibility that maybe most most people are not like the Sylvester family. Maybe they are. But, isnt it at least possible that your premise is faulty?

Sam T.

Anonymous said...

The Oyster bar is child tolerant in the back room. Club Soda is kid friendly only in the parking lot.

I understand that the large new restaurant/bar that the taxpayers are building for the boys from Atlanta will be toddler enabled.

scott said...

Mike,

If you read between the lines of my comments, you will see that I don't go to many Wizards games.

I provided my anecdotes of other ballpark experiences in order to give you an idea of what I enjoy as part of a baseball outing. I also pointed out how Memorial Stadium, like U.S. Cellular Field and Miller Park, does not provide that fan experience. I also pointed out that Harrison Square would provide that fan experience.

When I go to Wizards games, I think about how I have to pay $3-4 for parking when in a downtown location I could have parked for free at a metered parking spot on nights and weekends. I sit in my seat and watch the game. I look at the huge outfield wall and think about how it's a travesty that home run balls are caught by a huge net and not by fans. I think about how I would like to watch the game from an outfield vantage point, but alas, I don't think I can hold on to said net for very long. There are other things about Memorial Stadium that I don't like but I won't get into them.

When the game is done, the only option I have is to get in my car and go home. I can't walk around and explore the area, unless I'm really interested in counting parking spaces or drawing the ire of Coliseum security staff.

I very much enjoy to do things other than watch baseball when on a baseball outing. I like exploring and seeing interesting things. This is not possible at Memorial Stadium.

This is my real world example of a Wizards fan.

Kat Coble said...

I understand that the large new restaurant/bar that the taxpayers are building for the boys from Atlanta will be toddler enabled.

"Oh! You have a baby. In a bar!"

in a downtown location I could have parked for free at a metered parking spot on nights and weekends.

Due respect, but I doubt the free-metered spots will be as thick on the ground for game days. That's neither here nor there, though.

The whole "what do you do on game day" question of the original post is kind of a chicken/egg thing. I don't support the stadium (obviously), but I can see how the lack of options around the current park limit present behaviour. Maybe if there WERE a Hard Rock Cafe right next door the families would eat there and then walk to the game. Who can say for sure?

I think a better measure would be to do a survey in the city to actually gauge how much money people spend on various levels of "events".

I went to the movies the other day and about fell out when the people in front of me put $85 on the credit card for concessions. I think buying a soda for $4 to split is extravagant. So clearly there are different levels of response.

At any rate, I'd think a good predictor would be to find out what the average spending patterns are, deduct the cost of a game and then see what's left over to be put into a restaurant, bar or parafacility.

Tim Zank said...

Tom Spiece paid 2.5 million for the warehouse and invested 2.5 of his own.

Knowing his well deserved animosity toward government in general, he probably would have told city officials to pack sand.
He's not one who likes to be "beholden" to anyone, least of all a government entity.

Anonymous said...

Mike,

It isn't fair to assume that most families do things like your family. Are there many families such as yours? Absolutely and this is obvious by looking at the people who have backed your argument.

However, there are also people like myself that hate going to baseball games in a parking lot like Scott had mentioned. Sports (baseball especially) is about the atmoshphere. It's about before and after the games. Again, this isn't the case for everyone, but for a large number of people it is.

When I go to Wizard's games currently, I hate the fact that in order to go out to eat before or afterward, we have to hop into our car again and again to get to where we are going. I currently probably only go to 5-10 Wizard's games a year, but if Harrison Square is built, that number will increase greatly.

Adam W

Anonymous said...

Adam-

Mike didn't make that assumption; Sam merely accused Mike of making the assumption. Mike set forth his current habits with respect to attendance at Wizards games, and asked others to do the same.

I've been to one wizards game, invited by someone with children. I can't recall any adult friends ever even suggesting going to a Wizards game. My impression is that it is presently desigend to entertain kids, with toy giveaways, fireworks, etc.

Mark Garvin

Anonymous said...

"Mike, is at least within the realm of possibility that maybe most most people are not like the Sylvester family. Maybe they are. But, isnt it at least possible that your premise is faulty?"

I ASK YOU THE SAME THING SAM.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous,

Clearly, Sam wasn't implying that most people are one way or the other. He even left open the possibility that they could be like Mike.

The point is that our a ballpark downtown would provide very large numbers of people to come downtown and there is a very good chance that many of them won't go straight home afterward. Perhaps this is only 1/4 of 6,000 people that went to the game. Still, this is a very large number of people to go shopping, eating etc.

By doing this, we can have the best of both worlds. If parents want to take their kids home after the game...great. If younger adults want to go to a bar/eat, then they can do that. Currently, this is not as easy due to the drive and commute to nearby restaurants of Memorial Stadium. That is the point being argued.

Mark,
Call me a kid, but I love the fireworks, giveaways, and entertainment. That Myron Noodleman is one funny guy...haha. Just imagine those fireworks in the skyline of a summer night in downtown Ft Wayne.....truly a great atmosphere.

Adam

Anonymous said...

Adam,
He did not. What he implied was that there was a possibility that the population wasn't like Mike's family. I wanted to point out that the same possibility could be said of Sam's POV.

Also, your numbers are loony. The BEST year the wizards had for attendance was around 3000 per game. That was over 10 years ago when they were part of the twins organization. They've been lucky to put a 1000 people in the seats on any given night since then. Its unrealistic that 6000 will turn out even if the stadium is downtown.

Your 25% carryover is also crap. Best case scenario is 10-15% as given by a broad market benchmark.

This project is unlikely to work because when you actually look at the numbers it only works with the likes of those cited by Adam.

It is unfortunate that the planners use the same range in their plans so they can tell themselves its a feasible plan.

Anonymous said...

annonymous,

My numbers are not crap, and I am in no way trying to sound disrespectful when I write on here. If I do, I apologize. I respect your opinion 100%.

For proof, check out http://pin.ca/bc/03-1017/busplan2.htm. The Wizards averaged 3,894 people in 2003. There are numerous nights when the Wizards sell out and had approximately 7,000 people there. I was using the 6,000 number on a good night. There is also proof from looking at other cities that teams see a large increase in attendance after a new stadium is built....Dayton for instance who consistently sells out and averages over 8,000 people a game.

The city has figured this attendance increase into their numbers with a CONSERVATIVE estimate, and figure that a new stadium would bring 300,000 people downtown (up from the 2006 number of 253,564....i dont have 2007 data. source: http://downtownfortwaynebaseball.blogspot.com/2007/01/could-fort-wayne-baseball-change-in.html)

Were there some games under 1000? Yes, but very very few due to the time of the year, time of day etc. This is an argument often used pby Pat White that is completely flawed and misleading.

There are your numbers. My statement was not crap.

My question to you is where is your 10-15% turnover number coming from?

Adam

JR said...

Ok. From the redhead out in the boonies. I live in the land of the lakes and I love it! However, I drive to Fort Wayne for everything. I work over there or in the general vicinity of quite often, and many weekends I make the drive over for entertainment purposes. A 45 mile drive.

I load up the kids and it usually includes a stop in Columbia City at McDonald's, they are always starving and its still relatively cheap. Keep in mind, I am a single mother living on a budget and still trying to provide fun times for my kids. I manage to acquire free or discounted tickets to many events in Fort Wayne. We have made the 45 mile drive for baseball games,shopping, hockey games, arena football, shopping, concerts, downtown festivals, shopping, boat shows, monster truck shows, shopping, dinner, comedy club (myself and friends), shopping, night clubs, (again myself and friends), dining.

The point I am making, Fort Wayne, while the residents may not be totally happy with it, serves as an entertainment mecca of sorts for many surrounding areas. Actually at least 14 surrounding counties all feed into Fort Wayne for shopping and entertainment. I am not particularly for a baseball stadium downtown, as I see a perfectly good one already in place and in use. Someone mentioned an indoor waterpark, that would not be a bad idea...I currently take my kids down to Indianapolis once a year for that. I think there was some mention of a monorail over on another blog...hehehe, it could go right into the water park!

I guess I really am an outsider looking in, but it kind of makes me sad to see so many disgruntled over all that you have. The location of a baseball stadium is not going to matter to me, since I am already driving 45 miles to attend, it is an event for myself and my family and we are going to plan it in advance and it is going to be budgeted, that is our way of life. (However, if a downtown stadium involves a parking garage, that could become a whole other issue for me, I hate parking garages!)

Anonymous said...

Adam,
My 10-15% is what most responsible business people use for planning the growth of their business.

As far as your numbers, those are not the number of people in the seats each night. Those are the number of tickets sold/ given away for each game. According to Randy Brown at the Coliseum there are only about 150,000 people who make their way through the gates for the wizards games.

Again, I think that when you plan something you have to hope that the numbers are as high as yours but you have to plan for numbers that are much more realistic.

Respectfully,
Anonymous

Jeff Pruitt said...

All these posts and absolutely no discussion about jobs. Will this project create 500-750 high paying jobs? And if it won't - why should we support it?

I could care less whether people spend their money downtown or anywhere else. What this community needs is more quality jobs and THAT is where government investment should be focused.

So somebody, ANYBODY, convince me that this project will create those quality jobs. If city leaders can't do this then they shouldn't expect the support of the people...

brian said...

Would a convention center, hotel, waterpark, multi-use ballpark, aquarium, youth sports center, football field, or casino directly create 500-750 jobs?

Would an exciting live/work/play downtown environment be more attractive than downtown is now? If an outside company sees that Fort Wayne is an exciting place to live, maybe they will move here in a few years. Who knows, maybe not. My point is it hasn't happened here in a long, long time.

What do you consider a good job? What type of company or position title would you like to see in Fort Wayne? I will be graduating from IPFW soon and I am curious what Fort Wayne residents would consider a "good job" in Fort Wayne.

Jeff Pruitt said...

Brian,

I've argued elsewhere that with the money we're spending on this project we could fully subsidize and create about 150 jobs paying over $50k within 3 years.

Since this project has more risk than a direct subsidy program I've argued that we should expect 3 to 5 times the job creation. Therefore, this investment should create roughly 500-750 jobs.

Hoping this project will create jobs is not a valid plan. This administration should be held accountable for showing HOW it will create these jobs by leveraging the project...

Anonymous said...

Casino jobs are actually quite a step up from selling hot dogs two nights a week.

I'm not sure there are any projects where I would approve of paying almost 90% of the capital costs of what is basically a private business. Once I move past that objection, however, and if my focus was on quality of jobs, here are a couple of ideas if we want to throw land and 30-40 million at something-

1. Consult with St. Joe Hospital about expanding their already first rate burn center, perhaps in a new, enlarged free-standing building where the stadium is slated to be. Adding to and keeping doctors, nurses and techs downtown. Actually, anything that secures St. Joe to the downtown is very important to the downtown future.

2. A research/engineering center for the Orthopeidic implant industry- most of which is located down the highway in Warsaw. Adding engineers and scientists.

3. A mid to high end in-patient drug and alcohol rehabilitation center, along the lies of Ruh Hospital or Hazelden. Provides jobs for counjselors, therapists, doctors, etc.

Downtown development and econmic development are not the same, though there is usually some overlap. Very little overlap with the current project.

Kat Coble said...

As we're seeing here in Nashville, downtown development plans often over-reach the true economic status of the city.

It's especially prudent to plan any downtown development more cautiously now that subprime mortgage lending is being called to the carpet.

With much of the trend in urban regentrification centering around high-dollar condominium housing, the fact of the matter is that there just may not be as many takers for a $200K condo in the next 5-10 years as developers are hoping.

In a city like Ft. Wayne where the median household income hovers around $38K, it's difficult to expect many takers on high-end downtown residences. Especially without high-end downtown jobs that cater to those most likely to prefer city living.

A downtown casino would actually be better for the condo market, as it would draw the city-living demographic.

But the field, with it's suggested alternative uses is not going to be a huge draw for someone looking to drop $200K on a glorified apartment.

Those folk tend to be of the wine bar/symphony crowd, not the single-A baseball/weekend flea market crowd.

(And if you don't think there will be a flea market in that field on the off days inside of 18 months, you've got another think coming.)

LP Mike Sylvester said...

Adam:

I simply described what my family does when we attend Wizards games. I was really trying to get Stadium Supporters to describe their CURRENT experience when they attend Wizards games...

I am surprised how many of the current Stadium Supporters who frequent this blog are telling us that they do not currently attend Wizards games.

I was trying to illustrate to Stadium Supporters that it is unlikey, at least in my opinion, that Wizards fans will "swarm" downtown establishments after Wizards games.

My family goes to one or two Wizards games per year.

I certainly did not say that my family was typical of Wizards fans; however, baseed on the responses on this blog and what I have seen at the Wizards games I have attended in the last six years, I think my family is at least somewhat typical.

I would really like some of the supporters of moving the stadium to describe to us their recent experiences at Wizards games...

The target audience of the Harrison Square Project seems to be young professionals with a lot of disposable income.

Does this taget market spend a lot of time at Wizards games today?

Mike Sylvester

LP Mike Sylvester said...

JR:

I think your discussion reinforces some of my points very well. Fort Wayne serves a larger area and a lot of poeple to come to Fort Wayne for Entertainment, retail, and restaurants.

Those who choose to come to a minor league baseball game will most likely come no matter where the stadium is built...

Hence, moving the existing stadium is "Economic Re-arrangement."

We should build a NEW attraction that would cause people to come to Fort Wayne to spend their money instead of going to another location like Indianapolis...

Mike Sylvester

LP Mike Sylvester said...

Wizards attendence:

I do not know how many people attend Wizards games.

Does anyone know the real numbers of fans who actually go to the game and sit in the stadium?

I would think that the Wizards would have an actual gate count; however, I am not sure if they would share it with us.

I think that the best way to figure out the actual attendence would be to file a Freedom of Information Request for the parking revenue generated by the Wizards each calendar year from those who park at the Coliseum. One would still have to make some estimates; however, it would be hard to argue with the parking revenue that goes to the Wizards from the Coliseum!

Mike Sylvester

LP Mike Sylvester said...

Everyone:

I think creating and retaining jobs is the most important issue in Fort Wayne.

I still feel that moving an existing baseball stadium will not create a single job.

I do feel that building a casino would create quite a few jobs. A casino would draw hundreds if not thousands of people to Fort Wayne per day. These people would use hotels, restaruants, retail, etc...

Mike Sylvester

Anonymous said...

Mike,

According to Randy Brown at the Coliseum, 150,000 butts are in the seats per season.

Robert Enders said...

Ok. That number relects the number of tickets sold. Assuming that most Wizards fans go to more than one game a year, we can say that there are about 75,000 people who buy tickets every year. That number is way higher than the actual figure, but bear with me.

The US Census says that 219,346
live in Fort Wayne as of 2005. That means that most people who live in Fort Wayne do not go to Wizards games. Doug and I represent the typical Wizards experience in that we do not go to the games at all.

Gloria said...

I wrote a column about this in the Fort Wayne Reader. I'm not sure when it's running, so keep an eye out for the next month for it. I actually have some ideas to bring people downtown, and they don't necessarily include having a stadium there. Plus, my suggestions would be open year-round, as opposed to an attraction that offers entertainment just a few months out of the year.