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Author Topic: Arenas  (Read 2755 times)
erfalf
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« on: January 24, 2012, 09:31:21 pm »

Alright, let me preface this by saying this post is by no means a knock on the BOK Center in particular. That being said...

Are large downtown venues (like the BOK) really good for cities that are trying to turn downtown around? I really would like to hear everyones opinion on this.

It always seems that cities with fledgeling downtown areas always think that a great big catalyst is what is needed. I have done plenty of reading to show how big of a money pit virtually every sporting venue in the country is. I understand there are exceptions as to every generallity. However, i still believe arenas are better suited for more suburban areas, or at least not in the most dense part of a city.

Downside to arenas:
1. A huge financial drain on tax payer dollars.
2. It creates a huge demand for event parking.
3. Event parking means space used for parking instead of better uses in my opinion.
4. Once parking issue is taken care of, it is even easier for people to make just the one stop at the arena, doing nothing to solve the problem it was billed to fix.

In my opinion, aside from the financial aspects, a large scale development like the BOK is a terrible idea if creating a truely urban environment is the goal. If that truely was the goal (which I doubt), the city could have done a lot more with four entire city blocks. For the cost of the arena ($178M) they could have instead built 900,000 square feet of dividable commercial space. Let's forget the fact that it would pay itself off infinately faster than the arena will. it also does not create this massive need for event parking. Plus it would create hundreds more jobs, far more substantial than what an arena would. Plus not only would the increased tax dollars stay in the city, but so would ALL/most of the revenue since the businesses don't pick up and leave every evening to go back home.

Maybe it's just me, but I fail to see how arenas are good for creating urban environments. Please correct me if I am missing something.

All that being said, I still think the ballpark was a far better idea (although the implementation was a little suspect). It was put in a place with a wierd lot, needs far less in regards to parking, and only used up two street frontages. Plus, it was put in near an area that already was gaining some momentum. Not that I think the stadium is responsible for any of it, i'm just saying it is not as much of a drain on the area like the arenas are.

I hope this conversation is lively and interesting.
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« Reply #1 on: January 24, 2012, 10:38:41 pm »

Downside to arenas:
2. It creates a huge demand for event parking.
3. Event parking means space used for parking instead of better uses in my opinion.
4. Once parking issue is taken care of, it is even easier for people to make just the one stop at the arena, doing nothing to solve the problem it was billed to fix.

A good transit system would solve most of these issues.  Remote parking with shuttle service would serve people from out of town or nearby suburbia.  I am thinking of the parking in New Jersey with transit service to New York City.  Our family used that several years to see the NYC Boat Show when we lived near Philadelphia, PA.  After a day at the Boat Show, we stayed in the city for dinner before heading home.  The only problem was getting a cab to dinner with a family of 5 in a taxi only allowed to carry 4 passengers.  Kids were 14 (me), 11, and 7 yrs old.
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Conan71
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« Reply #2 on: January 24, 2012, 11:49:48 pm »

Erf, we've probably beat this topic to death previously here, but it's a good question you pose that probably doesn't hurt to revisit from time-to-time.

Simply developing commercial office space will not create hundreds of permanent jobs unless it's done with a specific employer promising to bring jobs from out of the area if the city builds the office space.  Of course for a more detailed argument on whether or not a city should be in the landlord business, look no further than the OneTech purchase for City Hall.

Increased commerce within the area due to money coming into the city from other areas from people coming to see a show or a sporting event, at an arena or stadium necessarily creates jobs, even if they are service industry jobs.  The sales tax revenue generated allows us to have the money to improve the surrounding infrastructure with better streets to meet the need of new development like the new tower going up across the street.

An arena, civic center, or community center as a concept goes back thousands of years.  To a big extent, yes, an arena or stadium is supposed to bring revenue into the town or city center.  But there's probably an even more psychological component which brings civic pride to a community which can be even more important to helping spur surrounding development.

I did find your comment curious as to why OneOk Field with a far more controversial funding mechanism as well as only seasonal revenue generation seems more practical than the arena which has more than twice the number of seats and can raise revenue throughout the year, regardless of weather.  As well, there's a far better parking situation for a Friday night concert at BOK than there is for a sold out ballgame at OneOk.
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carltonplace
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« Reply #3 on: January 25, 2012, 11:33:19 am »

No disrespect intended erfalf, but seriously: this again? We've discussed this ad nauseum with very few posters abandoning their idealogical perch to reach a consensus - at least before the BOK center opened for business.

In Tulsa, the BOK is undeniably a success as far as making a statement to devlopers that Tulsans wanted to invest in downtown. It could be successfully argued that the downtown Mayo Hotel, Holiday Inn, Mariott at Atlas, and upcoming Aloft hotel would not exist without it. The Cimerex Tower site was chosen because of the BOK center.

Is it the panacea for downtown urban development? Not at all. Most people on this forum agree that we need residential, retail, entertainment options, public spaces and art, higher education and student housing, a circulator system, smart parking options along with increased employment and corporate presence in our downtown to see the true urban density that most of us hope for.  
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« Reply #4 on: January 25, 2012, 11:45:06 am »

Alright, let me preface this by saying this post is by no means a knock on the BOK Center in particular. That being said...

Are large downtown venues (like the BOK) really good for cities that are trying to turn downtown around? I really would like to hear everyones opinion on this.

It always seems that cities with fledgeling downtown areas always think that a great big catalyst is what is needed. I have done plenty of reading to show how big of a money pit virtually every sporting venue in the country is. I understand there are exceptions as to every generallity. However, i still believe arenas are better suited for more suburban areas, or at least not in the most dense part of a city.

Downside to arenas:
1. A huge financial drain on tax payer dollars.
2. It creates a huge demand for event parking.
3. Event parking means space used for parking instead of better uses in my opinion.
4. Once parking issue is taken care of, it is even easier for people to make just the one stop at the arena, doing nothing to solve the problem it was billed to fix.

In my opinion, aside from the financial aspects, a large scale development like the BOK is a terrible idea if creating a truely urban environment is the goal. If that truely was the goal (which I doubt), the city could have done a lot more with four entire city blocks. For the cost of the arena ($178M) they could have instead built 900,000 square feet of dividable commercial space. Let's forget the fact that it would pay itself off infinately faster than the arena will. it also does not create this massive need for event parking. Plus it would create hundreds more jobs, far more substantial than what an arena would. Plus not only would the increased tax dollars stay in the city, but so would ALL/most of the revenue since the businesses don't pick up and leave every evening to go back home.

Maybe it's just me, but I fail to see how arenas are good for creating urban environments. Please correct me if I am missing something.

All that being said, I still think the ballpark was a far better idea (although the implementation was a little suspect). It was put in a place with a wierd lot, needs far less in regards to parking, and only used up two street frontages. Plus, it was put in near an area that already was gaining some momentum. Not that I think the stadium is responsible for any of it, i'm just saying it is not as much of a drain on the area like the arenas are.

I hope this conversation is lively and interesting.

The problem is how do you draw those people wishing to live downtown to do so?  Invariably the Blue Dome district was well on it's way before the Sep 2008 opening of the arena, but why do you think all those business owners were for it?  Because they could see the vision of what a Tier 1 entertainment venue could do for this city.

You can't very well entice out-of-towners to move here for their jobs (here=downtown, btw) if they have nothing to do.  The BOk allows Tier 1 acts to book concerts/events that most of us previously would have had to drive to Kansas City/Dallas/OKC/Little Rock to see.

The MotherShip was like the push that got the rock moving faster.  Before it was just on a slight incline, moving down, now it's more like a moderate slope, with businesses popping up here and there.

Do you really think that the tower going in across the street would have done so without the arena? 

I agree with you about the parking, but it's a two headed dragon.  Get rid of the parking, and people will whine and complain about not enough parking.  Keep the parking, and people will whine and complain that it's ugly.  There HAS to be a happy medium for it.
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DTowner
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« Reply #5 on: January 26, 2012, 02:42:19 pm »

It always seems that cities with fledgeling downtown areas always think that a great big catalyst is what is needed. I have done plenty of reading to show how big of a money pit virtually every sporting venue in the country is. I understand there are exceptions as to every generallity. However, i still believe arenas are better suited for more suburban areas, or at least not in the most dense part of a city.

Downside to arenas:
1. A huge financial drain on tax payer dollars.
2. It creates a huge demand for event parking.
3. Event parking means space used for parking instead of better uses in my opinion.
4. Once parking issue is taken care of, it is even easier for people to make just the one stop at the arena, doing nothing to solve the problem it was billed to fix.

If the point is that arenas like the BOK Center would be better in suburban areas because they are not very "urban", then none of the downsides you identified are limited to an urban location and don't prove your point  Tax payer funded arenas are expensive and need a lot of parking no matter where located (while the land might be cheaper in the suburbs, the majority of the cost is the structure and the suburban arena has to provide parking).  However, unlike an urban arena, there is typically little other use for parking surrounding a suburban arena when no event is occuring.  I lived in Washington DC when the Cap Center was the only arena and it was located in the middle of nowhere in Landover, Maryland.  You drove on the highway to get there, parked on a giant asphalt surface lot and, when the event was over, got back in your car and fought traffice for a 30+ minute drive home.  Parking around an urban arena is available and used for all the other urban parking needs of office workers and other businesses.  Thus, Urban arenas tend to use land much more efficiently that suburban arenas.

I'm not sure I understand the point about arenas not creating an "urban environment."  What exactly do you mean by urban environment?  The BOK Center replaced a suburbon style tire shop, a dingy diner and a one-story clothing and shoe store.  To me, replacing such low impact buildings with a one square block soaring building of architectural interest was a major improvement to the urban environment of the area.  Plus, as mentioned, it has had a big impact on the surrounding area and was a significant contributor to the restoration of the Mayo Hotel, conversion of old city hall into an Aloft Hotel and the Place One mixed use development.

Lastly, the BOK Center has had a huge impact from a practical and psychological standpoint for downtown.  It's practical impact is that Tulsa is getting top tier concerts and entertainment that had been skipping the city for years.  As mentioned, it is contributing to other development in the area.  The BOK helped Tulsa psychologically because it was the first big thing Tulsa had done for itself in a long time.  It was obvious that Tulsa had fallen behind not just the big cities like Dallas, but we had become an afterthought to OKC - a city many around here had always looked down upon.  How good can Tulsans really feel about their city if they have to travel out of town to see any top tier concert?  Lastly, the BOK Center demonstrated Tulsa was once again ready and willing to invest in itself. That's an important message to send if you are asking others to invest millions in your downtown.

The reality is, this is not a new debate.  In the 60s and 70s, cities all over the county built new sports stadiums and arena in the suburbs.  With a few exceptions, for the past 15-20 years all new stadiums and areans have been built in or near downtowns.  The suburban stadium and arena experiment failed.
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« Reply #6 on: January 26, 2012, 02:50:05 pm »

..snippity snip snip...
The reality is, this is not a new debate.  In the 60s and 70s, cities all over the county built new sports stadiums and arena in the suburbs.  With a few exceptions, for the past 15-20 years all new stadiums and areans have been built in or near downtowns.  The suburban stadium and arena experiment failed.


Case in point:  Wichita.

They had a 12,000 seat arena in Park City (a suburb about 13 miles north of DT Wichita) that opened in 1977.  It hosted a fewWichita State Basketball contests, the CHL Wichita Wind and Thunder, the AF2 Wichita Wild and several concerts.  I went no fewer than 15 times to this arena to watch hockey since about 1999.  It's a pretty neat arena.  Only arena in the CHL I ever went to with free parking.  But the land surrounding the arena was dedicated to nothing but that.

Then Sedgwick County voters voted in the tax that built the Intrust Bank Center downtown.  Now, I don't know about how the IBC is helping the Wichita downtown, but this is an example of what you are saying.

BTW...Sedgwick County closed the Kansas Coliseum in 2010.  They still have power to the building, but have shut off water and drained pipes.  It's future is uncertain.

Makes me glad we never built a suburban arena, because the CC renovated nicely as a companion for the BOK Center.
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Conan71
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« Reply #7 on: January 26, 2012, 02:53:01 pm »

Case in point:  Wichita.

They had a 12,000 seat arena in Park City (a suburb about 13 miles north of DT Wichita) that opened in 1977.  It hosted a fewWichita State Basketball contests, the CHL Wichita Wind and Thunder, the AF2 Wichita Wild and several concerts.  I went no fewer than 15 times to this arena to watch hockey since about 1999.  It's a pretty neat arena.  Only arena in the CHL I ever went to with free parking.  But the land surrounding the arena was dedicated to nothing but that.

Then Sedgwick County voters voted in the tax that built the Intrust Bank Center downtown.  Now, I don't know about how the IBC is helping the Wichita downtown, but this is an example of what you are saying.

BTW...Sedgwick County closed the Kansas Coliseum in 2010.  They still have power to the building, but have shut off water and drained pipes.  It's future is uncertain.

Makes me glad we never built a suburban arena, because the CC renovated nicely as a companion for the BOK Center.

I've raced and won in the Coliseum.  That was one of the more fun winter venues when I was racing midgets and they packed the fans in there.
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« Reply #8 on: January 26, 2012, 02:54:48 pm »

I've raced and won in the Coliseum.  That was one of the more fun winter venues when I was racing midgets and they packed the fans in there.

?

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MFCNVvvmxNw[/youtube]
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« Reply #9 on: January 26, 2012, 02:56:42 pm »

I've raced and won in the Coliseum.  That was one of the more fun winter venues when I was racing midgets and they packed the fans in there.

When you were there did they have the 'anatomically correct' brass bull statue out front of the building?  We always got a kick out of the fact that the bulls 'nether regions' always looked like they'd been polished, even if the rest of it was covered in patina.  I'm sure that made for some stories.
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Global warming isn't real because it was cold today.  Also great news: world famine is over because I just ate - Stephen Colbert.

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« Reply #10 on: January 26, 2012, 02:57:18 pm »

?

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MFCNVvvmxNw[/youtube]

Oh, no, I see where this is going.

Where is Vern Troyer?
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Libertarianism is a system of beliefs for people who think adolescence is the epitome of human achievement.

Global warming isn't real because it was cold today.  Also great news: world famine is over because I just ate - Stephen Colbert.

Somebody find Guido an ambulance to chase...
Conan71
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« Reply #11 on: January 26, 2012, 03:13:52 pm »

?

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MFCNVvvmxNw[/youtube]

Good one.  They are so cute when they get to pumping their arms.
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« Reply #12 on: January 26, 2012, 03:22:38 pm »

Good one.  They are so cute when they get to pumping their arms.

They ran a mile for that camel.
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Jeff P
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« Reply #13 on: May 02, 2012, 10:33:19 am »

Yes, this topic has been beaten to death, but I can't resist.

Quote
I have done plenty of reading to show how big of a money pit virtually every sporting venue in the country is.

You know... I remember this argument being tossed out all the time back when the BOK Center was being debated, but I've yet to see any data that makes sense.

The most often data cited is whether or not arenas operate as a standalone profit/loss.  That's certainly a metric worth looking at, but it's shortsighted... and it's not an issue here, as SMG has done a bang-up job of managing the BOK Center.

The broader point is those figures obviously don't take things into account like hotel rooms/restaurant revenue generated, additional development (and tax dollars) generated or intangibles like lifestyle improvements.

I'd really like to see one example of where investing in a multi-purpose downtown arena DID NOT spur all of these additional economic activities.
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DTowner
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« Reply #14 on: May 02, 2012, 01:30:28 pm »

Walking out of the BOK after Van Halen last night it was great to look at the construction site of a 18-story building instead of the former parking lot.  The value of what that area will look like in a few years cannot be measured in only dollars and cents.
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