For more than half a decade, Save Our City guru C.C. Elebash has pointed to a 1997 report by the Brookings Institute that questioned cities spending tax dollars on stadiums for MLB and NFL teams to support his opposition first to the Community Maritime Park (from 2005-2006) and now just the stadium (2009-10). I always countered with the age of the report and the fact it wasn’t about $12 million minor league parks, but $300M-$500M mega stadiums. Elebash repeatedly refused to do a joint study of minor league parks built in downtowns over the past 5-10 years.
Elebash will now have to find another study because more recent analysis is showing that even the mega stadiums work for revitalizing cities.
The new study on major stadiums shoots holes in Elebash’s anti-sports argument. The report by Minnesota-based Conventions, Sports and Leisure, or CSL, commissioned by the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corp., says that development of downtown San Diego’s Petco Park has brought a 7.6 percent annual return on the community’s $300 million investment in the past 10 years. (which exceeds their earlier projections)
Petco Park and the surrounding 26-block ballpark district, from 2000 to 2009, generated more than $207 million in net new tax revenue, including sales, property, and transient occupancy taxes.
As of year-end 2009, more than 3,500 residential units, 957 hotel rooms and approximately 610,000 square feet of commercial space had been constructed and opened surrounding Petco Park, with a total estimated market value of $1.79 billion.
The aim of the study was to determine whether the 42,500-seat ballpark, home to the San Diego Padres, has delivered financially on its original purported benefits. The findings indicate that Petco Park exceeded expectations as a tax revenue generator, a catalyst for surrounding downtown development, and a boost for the county’s overall economy as it seeks to lure job-creating businesses from outside the region.
BTW: I’ve asked C.C. Elebash to explain the $15M cost for the stadium, which he has yet to do. The CRA funds for the stadium construction are less than $12 million per the May 2010 budget.