Published: Monday, Aug. 20 2012 7:00 p.m. MDT
Clint Ensign of Sinclair, representing the Little and Grand America hotels, is
clearly biased against a convention hotel and is exaggerating and overestimating
costs to dissuade the public from supporting a convention hotel.We
shouldn't hold Salt Lake City back just because Earl Holding built his
hotels in the wrong location.
Would have been nice to get comments from the existing hotels next to the Salt
Palace, like the Marriott and Radisson...
No, and not one funded by taxpayers. Utah or should I say SLC is forgetting the
cardinal rule about free enterprise, government is not allowed to participate,
its illegal because it ruptures private industry and the economy.If
an anchor hotel was feasible and needed to compete with all the other hotels I
think there are plenty of company's that would have built one already.
Utah's idea is to put another tax burden on all cities and state government
venues to please its own decline demise as a destination city. SLC still
doesn't get it, the economy is sour, conventions are few and Utah is a 3r
rate city of beggars and scavengers and criminals in and out of government.
Downsize government, bring down costs and taxes and the rest will take care of
itself and stay out of free enterprise and speculative macro management of
private industry.I know SLC is just thinking of itself and now that
the city creek projects is becoming another white elephant for the Utah
taxpayers they continent to strip the poverty and over taxed citizens of more
money to fund their follies.
Not a dime of taxpayer money should go for construction of a new hotel, grocery
store, car dealership, department store, gas station, pawn shop or Wal-Mart.All these "experts" who claim that an "anchor hotel" is
such a good deal are welcom to pool their money and form a company and build
one, just like the Marriott, Raddison, Hilton, and Grand America owners did.Otherwise, the "experts" just want to do the same thing as
taking our tax dollars and running off to Las Vegas to see if they can make a
good bet with our money. But, we never get any of the winnings if they are
(very seldom) correct in their gambles.Government and taxpayers need
to stick to building fire and police stations, prisons, and city halls. But,
even those should be open to private competition.
How do you maximize your returns?SL County built the Salt Palace to
increase tourism. They expanded it because of demand. We haven't had a
large hotel added since the Grand America but at the same time, we have had
dozens and dozens of smaller hotels pop-up around the county due to increased
demand.Everyone says private developers will build it if there is a
need. There has been a need for years. Sinclair properties has been lobbying
against it because they want more business to their expensive Grand America.The problem of a single developer or a group building a hotel is the
competing interests. Land Bankers want high revenue, this cuts down on any
potential profits making subsidies the only way a developer can make a
profit.So either we subsidize or we force land bankers to sell lower
than they want...You pick.
A new County Hotel is being looked at even though it could cause the Grand
America and others to go under?. I have read the reports sent to the Convention
Center about the proposed County Hotel. It was pretty obvious that this
connection (all the hotels and the convention center) doesn't work and that
the hotels as a whole think the County is competing with them instead of working
with them.I would like to see the Salt Lake Convention and Visitors
Bureau work with the existing hotel owners instead of trying to compete with
them. They almost ignore both the Little America and Grand America Hotel and
that you can ride TRAX free from the north convention center exit to those
hotels.The hotels near the Salt Palace Convention Center should be
able to market their individual hotel and the fact that they have all the
convention and meeting room space that someone could want with the convention
center. The convention center should be able to market with the surrounding
hotels to utilize their meeting rooms and convention space if more space is
Who needs an anchor hotel when we live nowhere near the sea?
Anchors are for ships at sea. I mean, I've heard of the shifting plates of
the earth's crust, but I think using anchors for buildings is ridiculous!
The problem with the Little and Grand Americas is that they are so far away from
the convention center. Giving free passes on Trax for convention attendees will
not do anything to increase conventions coming to Salt Lake.We are
being passed up by conventions ranging from medium to large because of a lack of
a 1000+ room hotel directly connected to or across the street from the
convention center.Conventions as a whole like to have suites in
hotels to wine, dine and schmooze potential clients. Who will walk 5 blocks or
take Trax for 10 minutes to a presentation room?I've been to
very large conventions, 75,000+ people conventions. All large companies each
had dozens of suites, to give private demonstrations to potential new clients.
The show floor is there just to spread their name. The actual deals are made in
the suites.We don't come close to offering that in Salt Lake
but the convention industry is asking for it. They have been asking for 10
years now. What will it take before we act? Losing $40 to $50 million or more
yearly in revenue? Who will cover that? Those against the hotel?
"Ensign said that the total estimated cost for such a project would be in
the $300 million range. He said providing such significant financial support for
a convention center hotel would be unfair to other hoteliers that built and
upgraded their properties with no public funding."Let's be
accurate. EVERY hotel in Utah benefitted greatly from the millions of public
dollars spent on the Olympics. The Grand opened just in time for the Olympics,
and charged exorbitant rates during that time, allowing them to quickly recoup
much of their initial investment, greatly increasing their IRR and significantly
reducing their payback period.No public funding, no Olympics. No
Olympics, no Grand America Hotel.
Wow, I never thought Utah would go down this road of corruption that many other
governing entities have and are currently traveling (especially the US
Government). My advice to Utah (after all, I am a resident here): Learn from the
mistakes of the den of thieves and corruption that is our current federal
government! Don't take money from taxpayers, by force, who are struggling
to pay their own bills, and give it away to special interests, like some hotel
project! Did it work for AIG, GM or Solyndra? Of course not! It's pure
corruption! Don't stoop to that level, Utah! Geez, I thought we were better
I think personally that if it is viable, private money could get the hotel
built. This idea you have to have a "headquarters" hotel attached to
the convention center is silly. But that said....."SLC is
forgetting the cardinal rule about free enterprise, government is not allowed to
participate, its illegal because it ruptures private industry and the
economy."Say what? Since when? From Development Zones like the
local Research Triangle Park, to direct subsidies like paying for infrastructure
upgrades to get businesses to locate in particular communities, to direct
funding of basic research - carbon fibred aircraft - now being produced by
Boeing, to medical research, they all have connections to both direct and
indirect government support. This country was founded on government land
grants. There hasn't been one second in the history of this country that
meets the described requirements above. The technology boom of the 60's
and 70's was largely a direct response to government intervention in
research and development.I wish I knew where this line of thought
originated because it is nowhere connected to fact what so ever. We have over
200 years of history that proves otherwise.
Makid," Giving free passes on Trax for convention attendees "You don't have to, it is in the free fair zone now. Anyone can go
out the north doors of the Salt Palace and ride Trax free to the Little America
or Grand America hotels.If you gave free Trax tickets, you could use
the convention center at South Towne Center and the Rio Tinto Stadium. No one is
using the areana across the street from the Salt Palace as part of the
convention center. We also have convention centers in Davis and Utah
Counties. It also looks like we are getting more meeting room space with a
broadway theater. Crazy.
Makid has hit the nail on the head. A member of my family attends an annual
national convention for his industry with 1000+ participants. His professional
association has been lobbying for the national convention for the last several
years, but SLC always ends up getting passed over. Why? They prefer convention
centers with the hotel attached. The bulk of their participants prefer to take
an elevator ride and walk right into the convention. Not riding a shuttle, light
rail, or anything else. The hotel has to be a part of the convention center, or
they go elsewhere. They've picked places that are cities similar to SLC in
size, but they have the perfect match of convention center and hotel.Based on the studies cited in the article, this isn't uncommon. While
government shouldn't be directly paying for the hotel, a public-private
partnership is going to be needed to spur the project along. Like Rational
pointed out - look at the Olympics and their effect on SLC.
Utah_1, the problem is that the conventions don't need much more size right
now, they need rooms.The large companies at these shows want an
intimate setting to woo potential clients. That is why in other cities they use
hotel suites. We are lacking rooms, not meeting space.There are
many conventions that won't even look at a city if a single 1000+ room
hotel is not located within 100 yards of a convention center.Everyone says government should stay out of it, let the private sector do what
they do best. That statement means they will do what they can to maximize
profit. Why would they want to risk their existing profits to boost revenues at
other hotels as larger conventions come to town? Sure, they would make 25% to
50% more in profit but their competition will also see an increase in revenue
from more room nights being sold. How dare they benefit from that other
companies investment.If we don't get a 1000+ room hotel built,
we will guarantee the loss of $25 Million a year just from Outdoor Retailers
summer show. Will taxes go up to cover the loss? Sure they will.
One large problem with the Grand America is the cost, its VERY expensive and
with the current financial situation our country is in, we need good cheap
convention space. For conventions that need convention space within a hotel, if
you need a large amount of event rooms there is not much choice in downtown SLC.
What we need is a convention hotel with space larger than the Grand
America, smaller than the Salt palace, with affordable rates. I know we have the
City Creek Marriott, Sheraton, Little America, but they are too small. Costs need to drop to bring in more conventions, all places are guilty of
this, $300 for a single power drop at the Salt Palace is absurd.
One problem with the attached grand hotel, and I am sure other cities with them
have seen this, is that the conventioneers do not go out of the complex. This
loses business to all the other area businesses. It's great for the
convention center but every other business is going to suffer. Perhaps
what is needed is more enticement to LEAVE the convention area and partake of
other sights and businesses in the area. Sometimes big is not better.
Entice more smaller conventions with more variety of experiences instead of
several uber large conventions.
From reading this article..it is obvious that Earl Holding has done a tremendous
job of lobbying his desires with key stakeholders for a very long time. Mr.
Holding wants to be the empire and he doesn't want to be "smaller"
than the largest hotel in town. It is as simple as that. A
convention hotel is needed. The convention hotel will need to be less expensive
than the Grand America and it must be close to the Convention Center. Meeting
planners and attendees do not want to walk! Especially in cold and hot
weather!!Also any tax increment (subsidy) that is used to finance
the convention hotel will be earned by the convention hotel. There will not be
any "robbing Peter to pay Paul". The project will benefit by what it
It saddens me that no one wants to compete anymore, but instead lobby the
government for protection from competition or lobby for subsidies from the hard
working taxpayer, taken by force. Why don't those who love the conventions
so much, and the benefits they bring, pay for their own convention hotel? Why do
the taxpayers need to pay for it, if it is such a sure money maker? This to me
sounds like another rip off in the same vein of the AIG/GM/Solyndra rip offs.
When I see convention goers walking several blocks and crossing large
intersections near Pioneer Park to get to a hotel, I feel their pain. Government can help in a number of ways - allowing bars and restaurants to
cluster in a small area and get enough licenses, working to reclaim the empty
lot and ugly building across from the Salt Palace, and making the zoning work.
Conventions benefit all of us in the city, but not enough for the
government to directly finance a hotel. Let's keep government in the role
of facilitating and stimulating a business environment, but not getting into
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