Sunday, December 05, 2004

Corporate fascism, Pittsburgh style

The Post-Gazette has a laudatory article today about Station Square and its emergence as a major entertainment center in Pittsburgh. Keep in mind that the Forest City Enterprises received local tax subsidies as well as a recent state grant for improvements there. Here's the story's most unintentionally revealing paragraph:

Just down Carson Street is the South Side, still a very popular nightspot, and the emerging South Side Works complex, with the Cheesecake Factory, a new movie house and other options. There's also competition from the Waterfront in Homestead and the Strip, with its nightclubs, bars and restaurants.

All of the above mentioned received subsidies to open or expand within the last five years or so, except the Strip District (and the unmentioned businesses up and down Carson Street that were there long before SouthSide Works.) The problem here, folks, is that the region's population is stagnant. (Actually, that's being kind--the population has been in freefall for decades.) So what does that mean? Since most people have a finite amount of money to spend on leisure activities, without an infusion of new residents to the region, at least one of these night spots is likely to fail in the long run.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Waterfront in Homestead actually received very few subsidies (a relative expression. "Very few" in PA, of course, is very different from "very few" in KS or other good government states).

The irony about the South Side Works (which received a great deal of subsidies) is how artificial and, ultimately, pointless it seems compared to the organic mix of businesses, retail and residences north of there. Isn't that exactly what the URA tries to achieve through condemnations, bluster and tax subsidies? It naturally happened, thanks to market forces that opened up the area (largely in spite of City Hall).

7:26 PM

Blogger Jonathan Potts said...

The URA and its friends in City Hall hate what they can't control or take credit for, and that includes places like Carson Street and the Strip District.

I don't necessarily have a problem with government assuming responsibility for cleaning up abandoned brownfield, (like the Waterfront and SouthSide Works) and even assuming site preparation costs before the property goes on the open market. But that's where government's role should end.

8:48 PM


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