Monday, August 28, 2006

Memphis Needs To Make Sure It's Not "Buffalo'ed"

Well, clearly, we spoke too soon.

Based on the always reliable David Williams of The Commercial Appeal, Memphis is already virtually matching the huge incentive package being given in Buffalo, New York, for its Bass Pro Shop.

Our post last Tuesday, August 22, commented on the chains’ proven ability to wring public incentives for its stores and noted that the number of incentives in the range of $25 - 40 million paid by cities across the U.S. That said, we pointed out that Buffalo is in a category all its own, coughing up $70 million in promised incentives to attract a mega-store to a former downtown arena in the declining New York city.

We also noted that if Memphis and Shelby County Governments could negotiate a deal with the store that only gave it the empty Memphis arena, he would have negotiated a good deal. But, Mr. Williams says that already, local government has pledged $30 million in federal incentives for the Pyramid project.

In other words, when you add the federal incentives to the approximate city-county debt left on The Pyramid, it adds up to roughly $60 million. So, Memphis already is putting up a good fight for the distinction of being the city that has offered up the most incentives to get the fishing and hunting store.


autoegocrat said...

I used to refer to the Pyramid as the "Sink-a-mid," because of the soft silt underneath its foundation. When the Big One hits, that money pit will be the first thing to go downriver.

Now I have an entirely new reason to call it the Sink-a-mid. Thanks!

Perhaps if Sink-a-mid catches on, we can start calling it by it's true name, the Schlenk-a-mid.

Anonymous said...

Shlenker may begin to look a lot better.

Anonymous said...

Federal "tax incentives" are not the same thing as "federal funds." Comparing the incentive package being discussed with the Bass Pro folks is not the same as the federal funding that was spent to build the FedEx Forum garage. Until the facts are known, be careful what comparisons you make.

Anonymous said...

I don't care if it's incentives or funds, it's still our money that they're using for a stupid fishing store.

Smart City Consulting said...

Good point, anonymous. Caution is always a virtue in projects like this, but it does raise the question of why it's sound federal policy to be investing in retail developments like this, whether in tax incentives of direct funding. We've made no secret of our opinion that the fishing store in The Pyramid does nothing to project Memphis in a context of strength.

Rachel said...

It is virtually impossible to ever, ever, ever project Memphis in a context of strenght. We have toooooo many morons in charge of this city and tooooo many other morons that do nothing but complain about it and nothing to change it. Hellooooo, we just had an election day this month and the turnout should have been alot higher. Memphis always seems to give more than it should to get large companies, NBA teams, etc to come here, and they are doing it with our money, mine and yours.