Opinion & Blogs » Letters

Center Draws Crowds Despite the Setbacks

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Writer Scott Bass must live in a bizarre reverse universe ("Empty Promises," Cover Story, Feb. 28). As I understand his thesis, it is: The new convention center promised to do wonders for downtown's economy, assuming the presence of additional quality hotel rooms in the Miller & Rhodes building across the street, the performing arts extending from the Carpenter Center on Grace Street all the way to a major venue on Broad Street, and streetscape improvements -- all by the time, or shortly after, the center opened.

Only most of the streetscape improvements have occurred. Yet conventions and conventioneers, events and attendance at the convention center are at record levels, although less than projected. This is despite a decline, since 9/11, in conventions and trade shows nationally and a dramatic escalation in competition in the form of expanded convention centers in other cities in the region.

My take is this:

1. It's easy to predict anything correctly, except for the future.

2. Jack Berry and his convention sales staff deserve a medal, if not knighting, for attracting more conventions, trade shows and events, equating to more attendance and increased room-nights in hotels, all to a facility that until recently looked like it was located in downtown Baghdad -- and not the better parts of that city either.

Peter Boisseau
President
Boisseau Partners

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