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Make the David Lawrence a casino?


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This was in response to the earlier McGrath Op Ed about how Pittsburgh has lost out on some major conventions because of a lack of a HQ hotel next to the convention center. Author makes some very good points on how we already have more than enough hotels for any large convention and that the Lawrence should really double as a casino and be put on the tax rolls, adding jobs and activity downtown during the night time hours when the city becomes a ghosttown.

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I hope no one actually buys into this! I love the "it's not 1994 anymore" reference to Philadelphia's convention center and how it sat around idle for years until the city finally agreed to implement the original plan of adding convention-specific hotels. It was the same argument for years. "We don't need more hotel space. There's enough vacancies as it is." Until they finally did build it and hotel reservations jumped up *across the board* because of conventions. And why isn't it 1994 anymore? Because of the internet, of course! Good Thinking! Yes, now because we have the Internet, it has become much harder to organize masses of like-minded people to leave their house. And according to this sort of logic the advent of budget carriers at PIA can only mean that only people on a tight budget will go to conventions.

I also love the low-blow of bringing up a 13,000 person seminar at the Mellon Arena and how it stopped traffic. That's bad, right? The only valid reason for stopping traffic are pro-sports games. Forget about conventions that bring in thousands of enterprenuial-minded people from outside of the Pittsburgh area, because what we're really after is continued population loss. More room for the ones who are left to sit around and complain about how change is bad! What we should be after is exploiting the lack of opportunity created by stagnation, by capitalizing on people whose only hope is to hit the jackpot as their ticket out!

He, and the rest of the opposition to a convention center hotel, better start coming up with some hard facts for why it's really "not 1994 anymore." The burden of proof is on *them,* not the people who point to all the data that says we need this hotel.

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You make some excellent points, I am a big fan of the HQ hotel, but the one telling thing about the article was the point that if Trump or some other private investor or investor group could make money at it the HQ hotel would have been built years ago. I am just afraid that being that the convention business has changed so much in the last decade and that pouring tens of millions of tax dollars into a white elephant (see Pittsburgh International Airport where they close one of the "hub airport" runways during flight rushhour and make repairs on it, even with the addition of SW, I-Air and Hooters, etc. they are still suffering from a slump). I want the most bang for the limited taxpayer buck around here. That is what is giving me pause for this issue at the moment.

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