Friday, July 02, 2004

Conventional wisdom

This excellent City Journal article probes the convention center craze that is sweeping the nation and leaving a trail of red ink in its path. Like Pittsburgh, cities from coast to coast are building or expanding convention centers, which city leaders promise will bring in millions in tourist dollars. The problem, as the author notes, is that there is a glut of convention space while the market for it declines. As we know in Pittsburgh, it doesn't end there: "Publicly financed hotels have now become the latest craze in the municipal convention-center wars," the magazine tells us. So in other words, private developers don't believe there's enough market to risk their own money in building convention center hotels. What sense does it make to use public dollars?


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