I wrote Smizik this morning complaining about his tarnishing the IoC application by associating it with Mark Madden.
Here was his reply:
As I have written, the slots license should go to the applicant who can do the most for the region, not the most for the hockey team. If, for example, Harrah's can bring in $25 million a year more than Isle of Capri in tax revenue, then it has to be considered.
As for the redevelopment of the Lower Hill, let's wait and see. The original Civic Arena has such plans in the late 1950s. Nothing happened. When the DeBartolo family owned the Penguins, it had the developmental rights to the Lower Hill in the late 1980s and did nothing, although it was one of the largest developmental corporations in the country. -- Bob Smizik
He makes a good point about unfullfilled promises of urban renewal.
I appreciate the fact that you took the time out to respond to my message.
I whole heartedly agree with you that the best proposal for the entire city / region should win. (Unfortunately since this is a State matter, what's best for the state takes precidence and those two may not be the same.)
You make extremely good points regarding the late 50's and Debartolo periods. I will have to say that other than MSG, there were no Nationwide Arena type complex's in those times. Multi-Purpose Arenas have matured as much as, if not more than Baseball Ball Parks did during their transition from Three-Rivers style venues to developments like PNC Park. It's a different time Bob, although investigating IoC / Nationwides plans and verifying their commitment is definitely in order.
On that same point, Harrahs has used development of the South Side / Station Square property an important component of their plan, and the same lack of commitment you illustrate for IoC would apply to FC/ Harrahs as well.
I've noticed that you are quick to point out that the Pens don't want to contribute any monies toward an Arena. I have no problem with that, not because I'm a Pens fan, but because it makes great business sense. The Pens have found private money to fund the entire Arena (Though they've agreed to cover any cost overruns), as you well know IoC would mean neither the Pens or the Taxpayers are on the hook. It's a Win Win Win scenerio Bob.
One last point is that Harrahs has grossly overstated their revenue projections. The projections they've given are out of line with the other two applicants. More importantly, their revenue projections are 25% higher than the revenues for the most profitable slots operation in the nation! I think you'll agree that sounds more than a little suspect. They project a Pittsburgh Station Square property as being one that will draw out of state vistors and indicate that the other two proposals will not. Honestly Bob, I don't care how many customers you migh have on your customer list, Bob Smih from Des Moines is not flying to Pittsburgh any faster to play the one arm bandit because Harrahs owns the property.
And I haven't even mentioned the traffic nightmares or projections of 2.5 people per car Harrahs has hyped beyond reason.
However, again, if the main focus of your column was to 'out' Mark Madden, great, I'm all for that guy going down in flames. (no pun intended) I just don't want the IoC bid to get hit with the collaterial damage just because it's associated with Madden
No repsonse from Smizik.
I'm not normally a letter writer but the Bully Pulpit of Smiziks column reaches a wide audience. Let the community decide on the underlying facts, not on some broadcasters/writers slant.