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Comment Archives: Stories: Opinion: Viewpoint

Re: “Dividing by Zero

Where does the Tennessee and Federal U.S. Constitutions allow our tax dollars to go to amusement parks and singers' estates? Given that; it is a form of theft.

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by CHG on 12/16/2014 at 12:20 PM

Re: “Dividing by Zero

Mr. Berger: I am a consultant with governments and foundations all over this city and out-of-town. I'll provide my list of clients if you provide yours. But rather than the attempt at ad hominem attempts, how about discussing the facts? Which would you dispute?

6 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by TJonesMfs on 12/12/2014 at 8:17 PM

Re: “Dividing by Zero

Jeff: You are right. It is a good deal, but we suspect no one in city government has gotten a thank you note yet. But more to the point, if the Bass Pro in the Pyramid attracts only one-third of the customers projected for it, the revenues pay the bonds.

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by TJonesMfs on 12/12/2014 at 8:15 PM

Re: “Dividing by Zero

I really don't care who works for who or who is BFF with the Mayor or whoever.

Tiger Lane was built by the city about 5 years ago. There was much fanfare about this event. While it's a decent place to tailgate, I think I'm being generous when I say that Tiger Lane is used 30 days of the year. About 9 days a year for football games and there are a few other events that occur there.

I am concerned about baseball fields sitting empty for at least 4 months (November - February) and as you probably know, you can't play baseball when it rains. Or, when it has rained hard a few hours earlier. The whole idea of the fairgrounds being turned into a youth sports complex seems like a misuse of the land. Like Tiger Lane, I think "youth sports complex" will be grossly underused.

There is no assurance that a "youth sports complex" will work. There are assurances that some people will make money off a sport complex being built.

One last thing - Another reason I'm against this project is I don't want to see the locally owned restaurants that are in Cooper/Young and Overton Square having to compete with chain restaurants that will most likely be put in to the new retail space.

0 likes, 6 dislikes
Posted by Mark Jones on 12/12/2014 at 5:36 PM

Re: “Dividing by Zero

Perhaps Mr. Berger could come up with an idea for the abandoned, weed filled property at 2120 Central. Oh, wait...

4 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by midtwngrl on 12/12/2014 at 12:24 PM

Re: “Dividing by Zero

DataGeek
I agree. It’s because Berger apparently did not know any of the info provided by TJones when Taylor wrote this poorly informed opinion piece. More embarrassing for Berger than anything else, so now it’s time to try and distract with a little song and dance. Of course, his full disclosure comment only shows how short sighted he is considering his involvement with the Turley Co. and their previous ties to this project. I would say Taylor is proving that there is a whole new generation more than ready to keep doing things the same old way they’ve always been done in Memphis.

9 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by barf on 12/12/2014 at 10:19 AM

Re: “Dividing by Zero

T-Bomb-
…and as stated earlier, you work for TCB Consulting and the Henry Turley Company. Henry Turley was originally heavily involved with the fairgrounds and was considered developer by default. The relationship with the city soured and the Turley Co. is out a lot of time and money that was invested in the projects original development. So much for full disclosure, hu? #bergerisahypocrite

9 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by barf on 12/12/2014 at 10:17 AM

Re: “Dividing by Zero

Mr. Berger,
Are you suggesting that since Mr. Jones is a consultant he is being less than honest with us? Tell us what you really think rather than accusation by innuendo. I notice you have not refuted anything he has said.

11 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Data Geek on 12/12/2014 at 7:42 AM

Re: “Dividing by Zero

Tom Jones I appreciate your commentary re Fairgrounds TDZ. You are a brilliant thinker. I heard you are a paid consultant of Lipscomb? ‪#‎fulldisclosureplease‬.

If anyone wants to share their opinion of the project with the people who will actually decide, email the the State Building Commission:

Janet.McGaha@tn.gov, Lt.gov.ron.ramsey@capitol.tn.gov, Rep.beth.harwell@capitol.tn.gov, Tre.Hargett@tn.gov, Justin.Wilson@cot.tn.gov, David.Lillard@tn.gov, Larry.Martin@tn.gov, Peter.L.Heimbach@tn.gov, Jordan.Young@capitol.tn.gov, Hayden.Pendergrass@capitol.tn.gov, Jonathan.Rummel@tn.gov, Kathy.Stickel@cot.tn.gov, Bruce.Davis@capitol.tn.gov

4 likes, 12 dislikes
Posted by T-Bomb on 12/12/2014 at 7:34 AM

Re: “Dividing by Zero

Well I must say it sounds like a wonderful deal. The city spends close to a quarter billion to renovate the pyramid for bass pro and even if bass pro tanks and pulls out it will all be paid for anyway by the confidence fairy. For the first time in the history of the city nothing slimy is hidden in the details, to be revealed at a later date to the shock, shock I tell you, of everyone involved, provided they are still in town.

And no doubt the same can be said of the Graceland hotel grift, and the Fairgrounds Youth Sports complex that nobody wants except the people who want to cash in by building it.

It's seems almost too good to be true.

3 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Jeff on 12/12/2014 at 7:17 AM

Re: “Dividing by Zero

There is no money coming from the city budget nor will any money come from the city budget to pay for any costs associated with the project. The TDZ existed before the Pyramid project was even conceived, but that said, the city not only gets the existing amount of sales taxes in the district from when the baseline was set, but the baseline is recalculated each year and increases by the amount of the countywide sales tax increase, so city government does in fact get new revenues from the project as a result of the yearly baseline calculations. What you are describing is precisely the arrangement for the FedExForum and despite all predictions to the contrary, revenues are running way ahead of projections and to this point, the revenue projections for the TDZ are doing the same and Bass Pro hasn't even opened yet.

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by TJonesMfs on 12/12/2014 at 12:29 AM

Re: “Dividing by Zero

Well stated Mr. Berger.

1 like, 7 dislikes
Posted by publius on 12/11/2014 at 9:12 PM

Re: “Dividing by Zero

Well said Mr. Taylor.

1 like, 4 dislikes
Posted by publius on 12/11/2014 at 9:08 PM

Re: “Dividing by Zero

To clarify a few facts. The revenue bonds issued to pay for the Bass Pro Project are supported by the incremental growth in sales taxes (state and city portion of the sales taxes, so there is some city tax money involved) all over Downtown (not just in the Pyramid). The projections show that the revenue generated by the TDZ will be plenty to pay off the bonds, with lots of room for error. But in the event the projections are wildly incorrect to the negative, then ultimately the City of Memphis is committed to replinish the debt service reserve account with its general revenue excluding property taxes (fees, sales taxes, etc.), which is why the underwriters of the bonds based their ratings primarily upon the credit of the City of Memphis, the ultimate backstop for the bonds.

3 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by InTheKnow on 12/11/2014 at 8:10 PM

Re: “Dividing by Zero

Glad we don't have Cabela's. Research on Bass Pro shows that 40% of visitors come from beyond 50 miles.

8 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by TJonesMfs on 12/11/2014 at 4:18 PM

Re: “Dividing by Zero

Ball State economist Hicks studied the economic impact of seven Cabela’s stores that opened between 1998 and 2003 and found that despite millions of dollars in economic development incentives given to the retailer, there had been no net gain in jobs detected in the communities one year after the stores opened.

0 likes, 4 dislikes
Posted by Jeff on 12/11/2014 at 12:54 PM

Re: “Dividing by Zero

Another interesting factoid: Cabela’s’ own data indicates the customer base of its stores primarily is people living in the communities where the stores are located.

0 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by Jeff on 12/11/2014 at 12:53 PM

Re: “Dividing by Zero

The cost of the Pyramid renovation is $80 million. You're including the purchase of the convention Center in your total, which is understandable since the news media does it all the time. Also, the infrastructure isn't being paid for by taxpayers. It's paid from TDZ revenues.

And to say once again, no city funds. Revenue bonds are sold to bond holders who calculate risk and purchase them because of their confidence in the project. Finally, there's already enough money being generated in the TDZ to pay the bonds, so when the store opens, it's hard to imagine that they won't increase.

Back to your earlier examples, it's worth remembering here that Bass Pro has as much invested in this building as TDZ does, which is something that those cities didn't achieve.

5 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by TJonesMfs on 12/11/2014 at 12:53 PM

Re: “Dividing by Zero

There are no city funds?

Then where does this come from?

•An indoors cypress swamp will be created in Memphis as part of the $215 million taxpayers are contributing toward the renovation of the Pyramid Arena into a Bass Pro Shop. This includes money the city plans to spend to provide supporting infrastructure for the building.

What happens when the sales don't pan out, the sales that are supposed to pay for everything, when pie in the sky hits the observation deck? That money will still have to be paid. Who is going to pay it?

3 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by Jeff on 12/11/2014 at 12:45 PM

Re: “Dividing by Zero

Here's the thing, Jeff. There are no city funds in The Pyramid project. That's why the deal here is better than all the others you list. There are no general obligation bonds from the city in the Pyramid project, there is no tax increment financing waiving city revenues, there is no PILOT waiving city revenues, there is no money coming out of the city budget.

The Pyramid is self-financing because of the TDZ. It's paid with revenue bonds from the sales inside the building.

That's why you should listen. You are applying generalizations and that has been often done on the Pyramid project. But it helps to get specific facts about this project rather than assuming it's like all the others. To say it again, the cities where the projects you mentioned are on the hook because those cities didn't negotiate as smart a deal as City of Memphis and they use city funds to back their deals. I know it's hard to give city officials credit, but your taxes aren't at risk because of what they did here.

6 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by TJonesMfs on 12/11/2014 at 12:24 PM

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