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April 08, 2004

NYC group: Stadium benefits overstated

A report by New York City's Regional Plan Association (PDF file available here) says other cities' experience with major stadium/convention center projects shows they're poor catalysts for commercial development - putting a dent in the arguments of Deputy Mayor Dan Doctoroff, whose $5-billion-plus Hudson Yards plan would rely on property taxes from 28 million square feet of new office development to pay off its bonds.

Neither Seattle's downtown stadiums and convention center nor Baltimore's twin stadiums have sparked "significant commercial or residential growth," according to the RPA, while with Toronto's Skydome "the hope that the central business district would expand into this area never panned out." As for St. Louis' Edward Jones Dome, the prototype of a football/convention complex along the lines of New York's proposed Jets stadium, the RPA notes that while it "successfully creates the kind of synergy between the stadium and the convention center, the area around it is barren and deserted" on non-game days. The report concludes:

"When clustered together, stadiums and convention centers often make for a successful tourist corridor but as yet, they have not shown the ability to sponsor development of intensive mixed-use districts. There is little evidence of such facilities thriving in districts as dense as the one proposed for the Far West Side."

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