The Convention Center’s Future… A Pittsburgh Asset…or Liability?
It should come as no surprise to anyone that the David L. Lawrence Convention Center will post a $409,000 operating deficit by the end of 2010.
We the taxpayers were really sold a bill of goods several years ago when the powers that be at the Pittsburgh-Allegheny County Sports and Exhibition Authority, which oversees the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, came up with another boondoggle. They advanced the argument that when the original convention center was built it was not large enough to attract major conventions. At least that’s what their rationale was.
It was then proposed by the powers that be that the existing convention center, which was built with a cost of millions and millions of dollars, be replaced with another structure at an estimated cost of $300 million.
Think about it the first David L. Lawrence Convention Center which cost millions and millions to build would be replaced with another structure costing $300 million! As we know, the new convention center was built and, lo and behold, there were several costly construction blunders and we had to live through all that.
At the time, we were assured that the new convention center would be large enough to attract the largest and most desirable conventions. Unfortunately, such has not been the case. The center continues to operate at a deficit and we the taxpayers continue to hold the bag. As we reported, the center will post an estimated $409,000 operating deficit by the end of 2010.
Let’s face it – the convention center people are great on excuses, but short on making the center profitable. Selling Pittsburgh as a convention city has been a tough job. Is it possible that we are operating on a false premise?
Competing with Las Vegas, Atlantic City, Miami, New York, Chicago and other high-powered cities which offer a multitude of attractions may be a losing proposition. Pittsburgh – for all its many virtues – is not reputed to be the glamour capital of the world.
Now, the question is – are we, the taxpayers, going to be asked to pick up the $409,000 operating deficit Another question is this – should the convention center be re-evaluated so the bleeding can be stopped- or must we face the reality that the center will continue to be a losing proposition in the years ahead…hardly an optimistic outlook!
Robert W. Dickey
Broadcast: July 30, 31, August 1, 2, 2010
Heard PJ interview Sen Casey about more money for teachers in stimulus 2 or 3 or whatever. Anyway how much of this was for PA teacher salaries and how much would that additional salary spending increase PA's unfunded pension liabilities and is there any money for filling that hole in this bill? These would have been interesting questions in what otherwise was a campaign commercial rendering PJ a shill. Very disappointed as I like PJ, but resent being treated like some dumb Dora. If he's going to interview these elected bozos at least try to get a few facts.-Ernie, 15037
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