Double standards in how developers are treated

When Randy Gunlock pulled the trigger on his dream of building an ice arena at Austin Road, the Montgomery County Commissioners scrambled to try to boost the hotel tax to the max, without any public discussion. He didn’t even have to have a team, show drawings, provide proformas- nothing.

Now that Dayton Bombers owner, Costa Papista throws an alternate vision that makes a lot more sense and costs less, all of a sudden, all the negatives come out.

The big piece is money. The cost is estimated at under $30 million for a downtown arena housing the Dayton Bombers, and $60 million to $100 million for a hockey arena and events center at the Austin Pike interchange slated for Interstate 75.

“People should dream. They should have big ideas. But it has to be sustainable and you have to be able to pay for it,” said state Sen. Jon Husted, R-Kettering. “But we can’t afford two arenas. That I’m pretty sure of.”

He and state Rep. Clayton Luckie, D-Dayton, said the financially strapped state has no money to offer. The city and Montgomery County are also in difficult financial straits.

“Under any scenario this would not be a predominantly publicly funded facility,” said City Manager Rashad Young, admitting he is excited about the prospect of a downtown arena but cautions that a market study must prove there is demand for it.

“If you build this thing for people will they actually come?” Young said. “And you have to build that into the financial framework.”

Both arena projects require feasibility studies, financing plans, guaranteed tenants and solid revenue streams, experts say.

The Bombers would be a tenant for the downtown arena, an undetermined American Hockey League team is envisioned for Austin Landing, and both hope to draw youth hockey leagues hungry for ice time and willing to pay.

“Ice facilities are among the most expensive to build and the most expensive to operate. It’s hard to make money off them,” said Julie Skolnicki, the Columbus-based regional vice president of Brailsford and Dunlavey, a Washington, D.C., facilities planning and program management firm.

via Hockey arena dreams need cold cash.

Note that now, we’re actually requiring “experts” to weigh in, when it was just Randy Gunlock and Mandalay Entertainment(maybe) it was full steam ahead.

Dayton is still a good-ole-boy network town. Maybe that’s why we were bigger than Atlanta in 1950, but a small dot on the map today? Who picks these idiots we allow to run for office? Why did the County have their secret talking points memo for the Austin Road Arena, and two days after the Papista plan surfaces we’re seeing sabotage in the press? And, remember, Jon Husted just got hired by the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce on the side from his Senate seat. Did Papista not pay his Dayton Chamber dues and Gunlock did?

If this doesn’t stink to you, you aren’t paying attention.

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12 Responses

  1. Bill Pote February 12, 2009 / 9:07 am
    “People should dream. They should have big ideas. But it has to be sustainable and you have to be able to pay for it,” said state Sen. Jon Husted, R-Kettering. “But we can’t afford two arenas. That I’m pretty sure of.”

    Uh, Jon – the “Austin Landing” location is the definition of unsustainable. Not that I’d expect you to understand what “sustainable” really means, given your previous comments about downtown. On the flip side, the downtown location is the perfect example of sustainable as it takes full advantage of existing infrastructure, existing parking facilities, an existing hotel, an existing convention center, existing restaurants and bars – and it is located a half block away from a mass transit hub. Austin Landing can claim absolutely none of this.

    If no arena gets built anywhere then that is one thing, but if an arena is going to be built, it MUST be downtown. Period. Geeze, if Toledo can be wise enough to understand this, you’d think this region’s leadership could figure it out.

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  2. Greg Hunter February 12, 2009 / 9:07 am
    The big boys are scrambling as they need the Money, more than the people that are losing their jobs! They do not care about Dayton, they care about the payoff. They have worked long and hard scamming the system, denigrating Dayton, making it a banana suburb, so let them get paid.

    This payoff is no different than the payoff being orchestrated by Congress and the Obama administration to the Banksters. Open up the books on the banks and open up the ownership records/deals for every parcel associated with RG properties. Some will not escape on their private jets for leading this country into the 3rd world. I am really not sure that they are even human. Danis/Gunlock/Stanley/Husted/TID/Turner/Chamber/Tuss/Feldman/Parker – Just like the boards of Directors of Companies, less than 1 degree of separation. They will brook no dissent, because they are adamantly correct about the decisions they make, just ask them.

    Kick in the fairness doctrine as the DDN is sitting on the Parcel of land that enhances its value. Anything they say is because they are corporate lackeys and hacks.

    DDN/Montgomery County/City of Dayton/Miamisburg Employees Quote – It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his job depends on not understanding it. – Upton Sinclair

    Jane Wagner sums it up for me – Reality is the leading cause of stress amongst those in touch with it.

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  3. Greg Hunter February 12, 2009 / 9:23 am
    David, you may delete but I am awed by history and that the cycle repeats, much like wandering in the wilderness. Upton Sinclair called it all so there is really no more to be said.

    The Brass Check (1919)

    * Journalism is one of the devices whereby industrial autocracy keeps its control over political democracy; it is the day-by-day, between-elections propaganda, whereby the minds of the people are kept in a state of acquiescence, so that when the crisis of an election comes, they go to the polls and cast their ballots for either one of the two candidates of their exploiters.

    * The methods by which the “Empire of Business” maintains its control over journalism are four: First, ownership of the papers; second, ownership of the owners; third, advertising subsidies; and fourth, direct bribery. By these methods there exists in America a control of news and of current comment more absolute than any monopoly in any other industry.

    * The reader will understand that I despise these “yellows”; they are utterly without honor, they are vulgar and cruel; and yet, in spite of all their vices, I count them less dangerous to society than the so-called “respectable” papers, which pretend to all the virtues, and set the smug and pious tone for good society–papers like the “New York Tribune” and the “Boston Evening Transcript” and the “Baltimore Sun,” which are read by rich old gentlemen and maiden aunts, and can hardly ever be forced to admit to their columns any new or vital event or opinion. These are “kept” papers, in the strictest sense of the term, and do not have to hustle on the street for money. They serve the pocketbooks of the whole propertied class–which is the meaning of the term “respectability” in the bourgeois world. On the other hand the “yellow” journals, serving their own pocketbooks exclusively, will often print attacks on vested wealth, provided the attacks are startling and sensational, and provided the vested wealth in question is not a heavy advertiser.

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  4. Donald Phillips February 12, 2009 / 10:10 am
    Already hedging your optimism, are you? Looking for someone to blame when your downtown ice arena melts? Well it’s not your fault, of course not, as it ‘makes so much sense’. It’s a suburban conspiracy against downtown Dayton.

    I have attended these meetings of subversive suburbanites. They have formulated insidious plots against downtown Dayton. Why at this very moment they are employing anarchists and fifth columnists to undermine downtown Dayton!

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  5. D'Aun Walker February 12, 2009 / 11:23 am
    Isn’t it funny how history repeats itself?

    Remember when the discussions started on bringing baseball to Dayton and it was the “downtown” group versus the “Hara” group? Who won out on that deal? Too bad all the parties involved in the original baseball planning sides aren’t around to talk to about the what-to-do’s and what-not-to-do’s about bringing hockey to an arena near you.

    The media played sides on the baseball deal, not reporting facts and picking and choosing how to report the story. After all, why cloud the whole issue with facts? I won’t name name’s here, but those at the Dayton Daily know who they are. And we just can’t blame the media, even one of Dayton’s own commissioners got involved in all the mix. The same commissioner involved with moving the Dayton Bombers from Hara Arena, out of Montgomery County mind you, to Greene County. How’s that for progress?

    Interesting, it’s like deja-vu.

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  6. Greg Hunter February 12, 2009 / 12:35 pm
    Hey Don,

    Fill us in, what do you do for a living? I appreciate that you, I think use your own name, so let us in?

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  7. David Esrati February 16, 2009 / 5:39 pm

    I think this quote from the Dayton Daily News sums it up pretty clearly:

    It’s unclear what kind of money local governments might be asked to contribute to an arena downtown, or to a larger and more expensive hockey arena/events center proposed for Montgomery County’s southern border at Austin Pike and Interstate 75.

    Late last year Montgomery County officials asked the Ohio Legislature to let them increase the local lodgings tax to pay for that proposed facility at the proposed Austin Landing, the development envisioned for the I-75 interchange to be built at Austin Pike starting this year. The tax proposal was rejected and the idea has been placed on hold as the county completes a feasibility study on the arena/events center.

    Little is known about that proposed 7,000-seat facility, except that it would cost $60 million to $100 million and is considered by Montgomery County officials as the key to making the interchange a “destination.”

    R.G. Properties owns or controls much of the land at the intersection and Mandalay Properties, the Dayton Dragons’ owner, has considered bringing an American Hockey League team there. Officials at R.G. Properties and Mandalay have not returned repeated phone calls from the Dayton Daily News.

    Montgomery County Administrator Deborah Feldman also is tight-lipped about the project and declined comment on Papista’s downtown proposal pending completion of the county’s study later this month.

    A market study done by R.G. Properties and Mandalay shows demand for an arena and events center along the Dayton-Cincinnati corridor, and county officials fear that if it isn’t built here it will be built in one of the counties south of here.

    via Bombers see benefit to smaller home.

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  8. Jeff February 16, 2009 / 7:42 pm
    “A market study done by R.G. Properties and Mandalay shows demand for an arena and events center along the Dayton-Cincinnati corridor, and county officials fear that if it isn’t built here it will be built in one of the counties south of here.”

    So build it downtown and draw the marekt into the city.

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  9. Greg Hunter February 17, 2009 / 1:59 am
    A market study done by R.G. Properties and Mandalay shows demand for an arena and events center along the Dayton-Cincinnati corridor, and county officials fear that if it isn’t built here it will be built in one of the counties south of here.

    Nice, a market study by the fox (RG) in the henhouse (Feldman and the County Commissioners).

    Well let me say that playing follow the leader has not worked out for the County, the City or the World. One big effing case of group think. The whole thing almost wants to make believe in the rapture! Oh hurry before the Butler County builds a hockey rink. Ohio vying for Alabama for stupidity. I care not what any of these bums say and they are bums!

    The best damn idea was mine, convince Lebanon Race operations to move to the Montgomery CTY fairgrounds, pay off Warren County and legalize gambling at the racetracks, which will provide an instant benefit to all levels of society in OHIO. Agriculture, green space, 4H students, farmers, horse owners, breeders from one end of the State to the other. This venue combined with a rail line linking the Wright Dunbar District, through UD, down to the Oregon and then back down Monument along the Riverscape toward the Wright Dunbar area and presto instant development. Build your hockey rink and away you go. This kind of linkage combined with parking along these areas is perfect. Parking at UD arena and as the trolley heads over the Stewart Street Bridge from or too the Wright Dunbar area, get on and you are on your way. The players are all right there and this could be done, it could be a WIN WIN for everyone.

    The car culture is DEAD and if any effing town should know it understand and deal with it should be Dayton effing Ohio.

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  10. Gene February 17, 2009 / 2:11 am
    Greg, I completely agree with you re the move of the Race operations to a “re-built” Mont Co Fairground with several levels of gambling. Yes, that with hockey and baseball (with current UD basketball and campus with MVH anchoring a lot of jobs and energy) and build on less expensive improvements and housing would/could cure Dayton’s ills. I love harness racing and gambling in general. How do we get that to Dayton though? Is it a buy out situation?

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  11. Greg Hunter February 17, 2009 / 3:28 am
    Gene I think to get it done would require some coordination, but would be worth effort as this proposal would have state wide ramifications, but all to the good. Columbus, Toledo, Cincinnati and Cleveland would be on board as they get what they need. Just for instance, The Racetrack at River Downs could be served by a one of the old paddle wheelers that would go from the ballparks to the River Downs as well as Riverbend. Fantastic! So the deal would have to include a division of monies for improvements to the venues as well as to local infrastructure. So Dayton would need similar improvements to the Fairgrounds and then instead of building a port like River Downs would , they could fund part of the trolley development. Track movement, venue movement – Columbus has two tracks located close together so movement of the venues would be beneficial to those interests, so more grease for the skid. I have thought a great deal about how to structure the deal to appease the all of the political as well as business interests. Now who do we need on board to get it done? I think a backroom meeting with the following players should get it done.

    Debbie Lieberman – MC Commish with ties to Strickland and MC Fair Boards
    Carlos – Owners of the Lebanon Raceway
    Scott Elliot or some DDN Editorial Board Member
    Terry Blair – Standard Bred Owner and Ohio House Member
    George Smith – Thoroughbred Owner and on the Racing Commission
    Rhine McClin – Mayor of Dayton and former Ohio House Member
    Kim Williams – Ohio Breeder and well let’s say Connection to Developers Interests
    Bryan Bucklew – Greater Dayton Hospital CEO and on the RTA board.
    Some Damn Lawyer that knows the Ohio law with respect to Racetracks and the Constitution
    Mike Elsass – Link to Ervin, social nexus, consensus builder and one of the finest handicappers known to man.
    Greg Hunter – Idea Man who has thought about this a great deal with the ability to understand the issues from each person’s shoes. PS I would not benefit from any of this except, fame and glory for having my idea co opted by very large egos. That is the way of the game!

    If this group met about 3 times to work out the legislation, with some stiff over site, the rest of the cities and track owners could be brought on board and the deal is done.

    Ohio would have to make a few changes, but this group could put together the right package and in the current climate it is a “lock” as we say in the gambling business.

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