Monday, January 30, 2006

Baltic Avenue Hotel

Jonathan Potts has an article in the Pittsburgh Business Times on the proposed new convention center hotel. Voila:

Most of the time, Downtown hotels have only about a 60 percent occupancy rate, which to Strunk means that the city doesn't need any more hotels -- least of all a publicly subsidized one adjacent to the David L. Lawrence Convention Center. But some officials continue to push for a convention center hotel, and the legislation that authorized slot machines includes $34 million in state subsidies toward the construction of such a facility.
Heavy stuff.

I've been in favor of a convention center hotel for the reasons described in the article, namely, that the convention center will only be successful with enough rooms to support it. JP raises an interesting possibility: we may already have enough space to actually support the facility without having to create (via subsidies or the private market) more. If that is the case, the city agencies responsible for the hotel project should cut their losses and more on.

Of course, the obverse of the quesiton could be true too: the convention center may be performing only at 60% because it doesn't have enough hotel space. If there were more hotel rooms, would the convention center be more successful?

Chicken? Egg? Chicken? Egg?

In any case, JP brings up a good point that mandates further inquiry and a good start would be to find out what conventions we didn't snag, and why.

Besides, we can use the extra money to pay for city overtime.

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