Sunday, March 29, 2009

Was the New Era 1999 article re Ernst & Young disingenuous?

The following is excerpted from the Aug. 26, 1999 New Era.

"In a display that united old foes and bridged city-county and Republican- Democrat differences, county leaders have embraced plans for a $75 million downtown hotel and convention center with almost religious zeal…

"Representatives of Ernst & Young, an international accounting firm and industry leader in real estate analysis, presented the findings of their study supporting the plan.

"The project includes a 281-room four-star hotel, a 61,000-square- foot convention center built on vacant land adjacent to the former store and on the site of Oblender's Inc. furniture store, and a $7 million expansion and renovation of the King Street parking garage…

"After completion, the project would employ 577 full-time workers, generate $13.3 million annually in sales, income and personal income taxes and create another $30.7 million annually in local goods and services, she said."

Note that the "75 million downtown hotel and convention center" ended up costing almost $200 million.

Given the recent NewsLanc analysis of the report, note the false description of the Ernst & Young study as "supporting the plan."

Note the 61,000 square foot convention center ended up over three times that size.

Note the absurd claim of generating "577-full time jobs." Again, this is about three times what is taking place.

What we do agree is that "county leaders have embraced plans... with almost religious zeal." It had to be a matter of faith because there was little about the facts that was encouraging.