* This probably won’t end well…
After enduring 15 years of shrinking convention attendance and persistent budget difficulties, the government agency that owns Chicago’s sprawling McCormick Place convention center is trying to outgrow its problems through a $650 million expansion. […]
The $250 million figure comes from a McPier-funded study that assumes DePaul fans will fill almost all of the arena’s 10,000 seats for games — nearly tripling the team’s recent average attendance. The Blue Demons, who now play in suburban Rosemont, haven’t had a winning record since 2007. […]
If the arena does not at least break even, that will add to the financial pressures on the new hotel, seen as the project’s cash cow. McPier already plans to divert some of the Marriott’s revenues to pay off a $250 million construction loan. Competition for guests will also be tough, as hotel construction in Chicago is expected to accelerate in the next two years, records show. […]
If the project’s benefits don’t materialize and McPier runs more budget deficits, taxpayers will ultimately pay the price. Since 2008, Illinois has spent about $50 million in sales tax dollars helping McPier cover its debt payments.
In interviews, more than a dozen experts raised doubts about whether the project would have the economic impact McPier officials predict, questioning in particular the wisdom of building the arena. Stadiums are not successful catalysts for economic growth, they said, and nothing about the planned McPier arena suggests otherwise.
Go read the whole thing.