What if we built a conference center and nobody came? This might happen if we build it too small. I commend the City Council for voting money for a market study. This may save us money in the long run.
Market studies of years ago pointed toward a larger building. Responsible citizens tell of conventions which might come here if the space were available.
Again, the question of how to pay for it. Nine million dollars has been budgeted toward a noted conference center combination Five million dollars is being spent by the Parks and Recreation Department for a building twice the size of proposed conference centers. This does not include a hotel.
One purpose of the hotel is to provide somebody to manage the building. How can we manage the building without hotel involvement? A hotel might be a good idea. It does not appear to be in the budget.
How about the Convention and Visitor's Bureau (CVB)? Could we ask them to manage the convention center? They may not have expertise in food service. Food service could be contracted out. They may not have expertise in building maintenance. This could be contracted out. What we do hope that they have expertise in is bringing conventions to town. A larger building would help.
Remember the $9 million and $5 million dollar figures. The $4 million difference could pay for management.
By eliminating the hotel from the RFP we could build a convention center instead of a conference center. The CVB might enjoy their new building. There might be room for the MSP museum. Win-win thinking may result. The city may be on the way to greater prosperity.
As an afterthought, how about the RR Donnelley building. We could then include a small museum dedicated to the printing industry. This would save the expense of relocating some of the equipment. There are many possibilities.