Thursday, November 24, 2005

The Dinner That Wasn't

Be thankful that Save Richmond is ever on the watchdog job. Now the intrepid investigators are looking at Richmond's mammoth new convention center, another of The City's build-it-and-they-will-come projects. "Turkeys," by Andrew Beaujon, asks some questions about the design and operation of the convention center that deserve answers.

"The Greater Richmond Convention Center will be empty on Thursday [Thanksgiving Day]. That’s not news; there’s a reason it loses $4-5 million a year. It’s not because there’s not an arts center across the street, by the way -- you need only read this report to know that the supply of convention center space in the U.S. far exceeds demand. That’s why enlarging the Richmond convention center was such a dumb idea. Asking an empty building to spur economic development is a classic example of Richmond strategery [sic]. So anyway, it’s more than somewhat galling to read that there won’t be a free Thanksgiving dinner at the convention center this year, because the group putting it on couldn’t swing the six large they needed to rent a facility that will otherwise go empty."

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