Friday, February 13, 2009

Peoria Convention Bureau Outlook - 2009

The CVB confirms what the 2003 report from Gruen Gruen & Associates, a prominent Northbrook urban economists and market strategists firm, found in their study "Assessment of Likely Spillover and Fiscal Impacts of the Proposed New Lakeview Museum", a study commissioned by the Heartland Partnership in 2003.

In today's JS, Peoria Area Convention and Visitor Bureau Chief Brent Lonteen is quoted as saying "this year will be tough as will 2010". Lonteen also cited a concern about the number of conventioneers and participants in various events in the area. He hopes some of the events, especially sports, can withstand the economic turndown.

"Sports events tend to survive economic crisis, I think 2009 will be pleasant surprise, I do".

On 4/0803, the Journal Star quotes the Gruen Gruen report as saying that people of this region are more likely to attend a sporting event than visit a museum.

The Gruen Gruen report also says "the potential ability of the museum to raise $35 million in private funds represents a strong faith in future downtown development". As of this year, private funding MAY be around $24 million, most of this money in pledges that may be questionable, which does not show very much "strong faith".

On page 3 of the report it estimates 100% of attendance including the Caterpillar Visitors Center to be 250,000 a long way off of the promoters perpetual, (forever) total attendance to be 360,000.

On page 7, the report says "Outside of major cities, few tourists come to cities solely to attend a museum."

On page 10, it says the John Deere Pavilion attracts 230,000; 2008 figures were between 175,000 - 180,000 confirmed by the pavilion manager by phone last week. In a very recent editorial page in the IB magazine, the figure was put at "200,000 to 300,000".

Wow, how figures on this project flow and grow.

On page 12, the report says, "admissions to the IMAX theatre in Rochester, New York, have been "declining". On the same page it say "Regional museums generate limited hotel room-night demand." Lakeview is not a regional museum and expects to generate up to 83% of its visitors from the local area. Yet, museum promoters predict an additional 50,000 plus room nights as an economic impact.

On page 13, it talks about the 20,000 sq ft. In-Play entertainment complex that opened in March of 2003 and is currently in bankruptcy proceeding.

On page 16, the reports says "the market is not sufficient to support additional commercial activities".

On page 19, it estimates revenue "spillover" at between $490,000 and $1,350,000. The JS says that figure is $900,000 to $1.9 million on spending in and around the museum.

Since 2003 both attendance and impact estimated figures keep growing with the last estimate from two Bradley professors of spillover in the hundreds of millions of dollars between 2011 and 2031.

No one can predict what the spillover would be because Peoria has diverse entertainment and shopping to bring people into this area. At the same time Lakeview officials were saying it was difficult to put a dollar amount on quality of life,seemingly ignoring the underutilized current, more centrally located, Lakeview Musuem. The PPD, which owns the building, put the attendance in the 40,000 - 50,000 range while Lakeview Museum officials say attendance is in the 80,000's. Hmmmm.

What they can predict is that if the "public facility" referendum is passed, it will cost the taxpayer $61-68 million dollars, the $0.25 adds up to $3 millions plus each year for 20 years to make up the missing $34 million still needed in public funding for the museum. The county capped the bond money borrowed, at $40 million for the museum. The total the public will pay for the museum and public facilities, is over $80 million dollars. This public tax dollar support is guaranteed as see my previous blogs. "Public facility tax" is how the referendum is worded, and the new museum, by the admission of its own committee, agrees that expenses will exceed revenues by sizable amounts every year.

And those figures are based on 360,000 admittances, W. Michael Bryant of Methodist Hospital said in the April edition of IB, "upwards of 400,000" a year forever. Then, of course, the County could take over ownership. And on-going deficits.

The 2003 Gruen Gruen report is available from Heartland Partnershop and you may look up Gruen and Gruen by reputation on the internet.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I agree with your "rethinking further developments" i am amazed at decision making since I have moved back to peoria. another example with the city--pouring asphalt on a raining day and then complaining that it will have to be redone??? do you think this type of situation goes on because the people of peoria just needs to get "more involved in their goverment and its decisions"?