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Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Latest liars' budget on Convention Center Hotel released

And it's $247 million. A quarter billion (and always rising) chasing convention business that's never, ever going to come to Portland, Oregon.

But hey, it's pork for Hoffman Construction, it's pork for Hank Ashforth, and so the Network Formerly Known as Goldschmidt has decided that you and I are going to pay for it. Starwood Hotels will make a $6 million profit the first year, and the construction bonds will be paid off by the tooth fairy the taxpayers (who else?).

The comment period will be mostly between now and Labor Day. What? Got other plans? How sad for you.

Comments (22)

The over/under on the CC Hotel happening is getting worse by the day. This p!sses me off the way they foist this garbage onto the sheeple taxpayers.

This town needs a couple of forced bond elections. The money and effort needed to put one on the ballot, though, is daunting.

Don’t believe they are going to pay for it just with hotel revenue. Think a big increase in the motel/hotel tax and most likely a few points on auto rentals too. After they build it, it goes bust and they can’t pay the debt service, hold on to your wallets as they will find something really creative to stick us with, maybe crosswalk tolls.

This is really rich. The city of Portland gets to play with the whole metro area's property taxes. Tell me how a family living and working in Hillsboro benefits from a hotel in the center of the city of Portland. I doubt very much they benefit a plug nickel. In fact, I being a resident of the city don't even benefit from such a risky venture. One more stupid city service I don't want and I could care less about.

Where's the environmental nut jobs who rage about the I-5 replacement bridge causing more global warming? If this new Hotel does bring them in, how do you think they get here. Mostly by air travel which runs on diesel.

If the Metro bureaucrats are so sure of profitability, why don't they wager their salary and pensions on it? How bout they put some skin in the game instead of a casual, between lunch time, review. I know it's to line the coffers of certain favorite developer and friends, and is not really about providing essiential city services. This can be the only explanation why this stupid idea won't go away no matter how many times folks kick it back for further study.

On the brighter side!

The upcoming Starbucks layoffs will hopefully begin an erosion of their voter support base.

For the sake of tradition let me say that the MAX is fantastic, we need need streetcars everywhere, density is good and Portland is doing more things right than any town in America.
OK, now I've got that out of the way, this convention hotel project has been bollocks from the beginning. Convention centers and sports stadiums are, without exception, money pits for cities. Add to that the prospect of $7 gas (not that I would ever mention peak oil here) and it's clear we need to stop this insanity now.

Have a convention in a city that is rainy and dreary or go to San Antonio in January?

Look at the top lists of convention cities and they are primarily in the south plus Chicago and NY.

This is amazing. It's not like the local government screwed up on one project, like the tram. They are doing this all across the board. They have so many stupid pet projects that are so expensive and will never pencil out. A Quarter of a billion? Jesus Christ! And even if it were going to work, where are our priorities. Why don't we put our energy into fixing pot holes.

And I work for one of Hoffman's biggest competitors... Funny how their name always ended up attached to things like SoWhat and the Conv Ctr Hotel.

I'll tell y'all straight up... The cold hard truth... Portland's convention business is based on its tourist assets, its place on the Pacific Rim (and relative cost to Seattle, LA, SD, SF, etc), and the liberal laws we have toward adult entertainment dancing in Portland. None of that will change.

The fact that people have to walk an extra two blocks to the Double Tree instead of whatever taxpayer-screwing hotel moves in there will have nothing to do with the new, highly-subsidized hotel. This is just more slop in the pig trough.

Update - Ashforth's report is available:


Believe me, I am going to read this in depth to see how the next big developer subsidy is gonna happen.

Hey Bradgon,

Can you tell us anything Metro does well?

Does that pro forma estimate of 58% occupancy consider the fact that the Schlesingers might build a big hotel behind Burgerville? Is Metro/PDC/Portland actually planning to compete against PDC in the hotel business with our money?

1992-Jun: $40 mil., 400 rooms

2003-Apr: $160 mil., 800 rooms

2006-May: $150 mil., 600 rooms

2007-Sep: $244 mil., 600 rooms

2008-Jul: $247 mil., 597 rooms

Cost per room has increased by 9.3% per year.

Sources: Business Journal; Oregonian; GlobeSt.com

Do I have this straight? When Metro argued a few years ago for an enlarged Convention Center, it contended that without it Portland was losing bigger conventions. Hence, "build it and they will come." Well, they didn't come after all. Now we hear that a new hotel (subsidized of course)is the essential economic catalyst. That's so Portland: throwing good money after bad. What's worse? No one is ever held accountable.

Don L.

How many Sellwood Bridges would $247,000,000.00 buy again?

Less than one:

"Sellwood project costs ($2012) range from $260 to $449 million (inclusive of right of way, operations and maintenance)"

"Sellwood project costs ($2012) range from $260 to $449 million (inclusive of right of way, operations and maintenance)"

So instead of being $201M short in the worst case scenario, we'd have a 1/3 full hotel and be $449 million short.

Oh yeah, that's better.

MachineShedFred: I think what Garage Wine's post demonstrates is that you fail to comprehend the cost of building things. The assumption that one could build numerous Sellwood Bridges for the cost of this hotel is off base. Criticize the hotel project if you like; at least do it with marginally accurate statements please.

This will be a true test of how Ted Wheeler likes his new job. Because if he puts one nickel of county money into this turkey, his political career will be over.

I wonder where the elected official is who represents the large segment of the taxpaying public who wants this crap stopped?
Now that's funny.

The total cost of the convention center hotel doesn't matter to the Metro folks - they'll build it even if it costs $1 billion. In fact, the more it costs, the better because:

- Hoffman Construction will make a
bigger profit.

- Hoffman can provide more campaign
contributions and other financial help
to Metro's Councilors.

- Metro will make more money through the
overhead rates they will charge for
"overseeing" the project. The overhead
rates benefit the general fund, which
pays for the Councilors' salaries and
their pet projects.

- Metro and Hoffman can include features
in the HQ hotel that are nice but not
necessary, such as lavish executive
offices and VIP lounges that the
Councilors can use anytime they want.

I predict that the HQ hotel will be built and it will cost at least $400 million. If Hoffman isn't chosen as the general contractor, I'll drop of a massive heart attack.

Oops, that last line should read, "drop dead of a massive heart attack."

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