Madison's Mayor and City Council are clearly not experts in commercial real estate. Why then do they keep engaging in commercial real estate speculation with taxpayer funds? In today's economic climate, that is especially irresponsible. There are plenty of signs, which they are inexplicably ignoring, that building hotels with taxpayer funds is a really bad idea.
One recent downtown Madison hotel project still sits unfinished and won't generate tax revenue anytime soon.
The City of Sheboygan has not realized the expected revenue stream from the Blue Harbor conference center.
Las Vegas is a cautionary tale of irrational exhuberance in the hotel construction business. What do they think a new Marcus Hotel adjacent to Monona Terrace will do to the Edgewater's occupancy rate?
Wisconsin Rapids' only hotel with a conference center was several months delinquent on both room taxes and property taxes and has just gone into foreclosure. The Edgewater TIF "loan" (actually a hand-out) was justified with inflated projections for both room and property taxes. I doubt the city will see anywhere close to that additional revenue, and taxpayers will be left holding the bag, much like in Wisconsin Rapids.
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