Monday, March 05, 2007

Harrison Square, against or for

A couple of days ago I posted and asked people to say whether they were for or against Harrison Square as it currently stands...

Eleven people weighed in (Including me...)

Six people were in favor of the Project (Chad, Scott, Brian, Scott, David, and Sam)

Four people were against (Myself, Kody, Parson, and Scott)

One person is undecided (Tim Zank)

I must admit that I am surprised with the results...

For David Corcoran (I will see you Thursday Dave!)

I think the best way to revitalize Downtown Fort Wayne is to get a Casino License from The State and put a full service casino Downtown. The project culd be paid for 100% with private investment and the casino would draw people from at least 100 miles away.

A Downtown casino would work MUCH better then a Baseball stadium AND it would do all of the following:

1. Be paid for 100% by Private money.
2. Draw hundreds of people per day into downtown Fort Wayne.
3. The casino would build a hotel and they would pay for the hotel.
4. If the casino needed a Parking Garage they would pay for their own...
5. A casino would dramatically INCREASE the number of events the Grand Wayne Center could draw.

The list goes on.

Putting a casino in Downtown Fort Wayne is the ONLY Silver Bullet for Downtown...

Mike Sylvester


Anonymous said...

Give up on the casino. Mike. It will NEVER happen. Those that have casinos don't want others to get them, for obvious reasons. Indy wants one (or more) to complete their vision of a snowbelt tourist mecca. Indy is being held up by Fort Wayne, South Bend, Muncie, terre Haute, etc., all of whom want their own silver bullet and wont let Indy get one unless they get one too. We are not going to add another half doxen cities with casinos.

Plus, as others have pointed out, unless the legislation required the casino only to build in downtown FW, they would build in the county, not in smoke free FW.

"DisneyKingdom"- that's what we need! A 5 billion Disney theme park right in downtown FW! That has as much chance as a casino. I'm against the baseball stadium. btw, based on what has been disclosed thus far.

Mark Garvin

LP Mike Sylvester said...

Mark Garvin:

If our local elected officials REALLY wanted a casino I think we COULD get one.

That being said; our local officials do not want a casino and so we will not get one...

I agree that we would have a hard time getting one unless Indianapolis got one...

What kind of law do you practice? We have been looking for a good attorney...

Mike Sylvester

ChadGramling said...

I don't know if a casino would work better than baseball or not. What I do know is that I would not be likely to ever enter the complex. Certainly I would not invite business peers to join me and I definately would not take my family or friends from out of state for a day downtown if it were anchored by a casino. I am guessing I am not alone in that opinion.

Scott Greider said...

Totally against a casino.

Karen Goldner said...

Several years ago I was visiting a friend in Detroit and that weekend the Free Press, or whatever the Sunday paper is in Detroit, did a very interesting article about the impact of casinos in Detroit. The conclusion? Their impact was neither as terrible as some had argued or as wonderful as others had predicted.

Having gone to a couple of the casinos in Detroit (for educational purposes, only), it does seem to me that the way you build a casino makes a huge difference in its community impact. Build it as a great big stand-alone thing surrounded by parking garages, and you'll have, well, a great big stand-alone thing surrounded by nothing except parking garages. So when you are at this type of casino and want to eat, you go to one of the casino's restaurants without even leaving the building. There is very little benefit to the surrounding local businesses.

The Greektown casino is different - it is smaller and part of a block that includes other businesses (particularly restaurants and clubs), and surrounded by still more small restaurants and clubs. My friends and I ate dinner at one of the locally-owned restaurants and then went to the casino (again, strictly as observers). We would NOT have gone to the restaurant without the draw of the casino (or some other draw to get us to downtown from my friend's house in the suburbs.) However, when I had occasion to go back to a casino in Detroit I went to Greektown because it was much more interesting (and the food was better!)

This is no great insight, but it something that can be easily lost in design. I'm sure that Scott has lots more to say about this as a professional architect.

Anonymous said...

I recommend bulldozing IPFW or selling it to Ivy Tech and relocating the entire IPFW campus downtown. The downtown would be instantly transformed.

brian said...

I've been to the Greektown casino and I agree that its mixed-use design is what helps make it work better than the competition. Indiana law only allows casinos on water, so this would restrict the proximity of local businesses to a casino in Fort Wayne.

I agree with Chad that I prefer a family events such as baseball to adult entertainment for Fort Wayne. I don't think Fort Wayne will ever have a casino.

Since Karen mentioned it, comparing a casino surrounded by parking lot to a mixed-use casino is just like ballpark design. Opponents of the Harrison Square project will tell you that South Bend and Gary are examples of urban ballpark failures. Fort Wayne has learned from their mistakes and decided (through BaseballPLUS), that a stand-alone ballpark surrounded by parking lots would not be a good idea. The BaseballPLUS committee only approved moving forward with a downtown ballpark that is mixed-use in nature.

Those that are not drawn to casinos are still drawn to the mixed-use developments around Greektown. The same can be said for those who consider themselves "non-baseball fans" here in Fort Wayne.

brian said...

"I recommend bulldozing IPFW or selling it to Ivy Tech and relocating the entire IPFW campus downtown. The downtown would be instantly transformed."

Why is it that comments like this always come from the same person? Mr. Anonymous sure is opinionated.

Anonymous said...

This is the first time I've ever posted here.

I thought it was a good idea anyway.

brian said...

I meant Mr. Anonymous as a reference to all anonymous comments through various blogs.

IPFW actually started downtown. Like many other businesses and residents, it moved to the edge of town where land is more readily available and cheap. Many residents consider Indiana Tech and/or St. Francis to be downtown.

David Corcoran said...

Thank You Mike. As much as I love the casino idea - I don't think it could happen. I don't think the City of Churches would go for that. Unlike baseball, I also believe we would be fighting against other interests throughout the state aka casinos that don't want Ft Wayne to have a casino such as French Lick, Michigan City, and Southeast. They have a reason to fight it. No one has a reason to fight the baseball stadium (other than the residents of Ft Wayne) I'm really afraid if we derail this, there won't be anything at all.

Karen Goldner said...

Brian, you are certainly correct - how you design whatever it is you build will make a huge difference in impact, whether it is a baseball stadium, a casino, a shopping center, or something else.

Andrew Kaduk said...

I really feel like people get the wrong impressions of Casinos in general, which is what leads me to believe that the idea is more of a feasibility than not. Casinos are no more than a great big playground for people with disposable different than Carribbean resorts, Cruises, and many, many other things. Casinos are some of the safest, cleanest entertainment venues I have ever patronized. Anyone who has ever been to MGM Grand or Caesar's Palace in vegas know that you could spend days in these places, enjoying yourself immensely without ever wagering a single dollar. There are stores for shopping (all kinds, really), excellent restaurants, music, comedy and cabaret shows, spas, exercise facilities and more. What would be objectionable about this? There is literally something for everyone in a big casino.

What is the issue? Why shouldn't a casino get any consideration? "Morally" speaking, it's not as if someone is suggesting that we legalize prostituion or the manufaturing of crystal methamphetamine...

People from the Fort Wayne area spend millions of dollars every year in Vegas (and getting to Vegas)...why not keep the $$ here?

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