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Nov 28, 2012

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Triadwatch

"Another $10 million could be funded with county hotel-motel tax revenues."

How is this possible when the fiefdom Matt brown has locked up 25 million for the coliseum for probably the next 20 years. As I have said that money pit that downtown wanted from hotel and motel tax was eaten up in one swoop by Matt fiefdom brown

Ginia Zenke

Guess this means there can be no future expansion of the Greensboro Historical Museum..
Why is there the assumption that there will be no future need of growth that should be addressed?
History stops Here.

sal leone

I do not think the location is the right place. I like to see more time given to location and maybe a better time with the economy.

John

Is it not reasonable for City Council members like Nancy Vaughan and Zack Matheny to ask who is behind this mythical $20 million in private funds? The last thing this project needs is a willfull lack of transparency.

I applaud the City Council for keeping the heat on the people behind this.

Jim M

I'm with John, nice work by the council asking who has pledged the money so far.

Per the GPAC website, "The Task Force was specifically charged with: Creating an open, candid and constructive dialogue around the needs of a performing arts center;
Creating an economic impact report and a feasibility analysis of a downtown facility; and
Exploring using private investment to complement public resources"

Sorry, but if you're giving money to a public-owned facility that is paying 2/3 of the price, you should have no expectation of privacy. The people have a right to know and confirm firsthand where that money is coming from.

Oh, if you want to see the proposed location, you can see it here.

sal leone

I am not sold on the location. There seems no room for growth. I like to see who is investing and why.

Ron

As far as location, I think it's in a great spot. It's in the middle of all the cultural attractions and the cultural arts center would be next door. I also like the location because of the close proximity to three city parking decks that would take care of all the parking needs.

But I would like to no why isn't the city pursuing naming rights? That would help cut down on what the public has to pay.

Ron

Jim M, I look at the link where you outlined the property. If Festival Park is kept intact, it would be a really tight fit. But it looks like they are going to have to take out much of Festival Park for a 3,000 seat venue. Maybe thats why they are planning to relocate Summit Ave for another adjoining park.

John

What happens to the businesses on the block on Summit/Bellemeade intersection? Summit Station?

Margaret Benjamin

What could be better than to have a performing arts center steps away from the free admission Greensboro Historical Museum? As far as expansion goes, city history museums around the country are now more about going out into the community and creating partnership programming than expensive expansions- but wouldn't we also love to see some blockbuster history traveling exhibits on view for arts center/downtown goers? It is a win-win.

Roch

The ol' Greensboro Okee Doke is alive and well:

"We have $20 million in pledges from people who will want their names on plaques, bricks and seat backs when the PAC gets built, but who all want to say anonymous for now, if you don't mind."

Okee Doke!

"Of course we should trust the County tax director, he's a Christian minister with a capital 'c' who opens commissioners' meetings with a prayer sometimes."

Okee Doke!

"People were secretly recorded when calling the City and the recordings destroyed prematurely, but no laws were broken."

Okee Doke!

Ed Cone

For those who don't know, Margaret Benjamin is president of the Greensboro Historical Museum board.

Roch

Ed, if by credibility you mean full of crap, then yeah, your confidence is justified.

Ed Cone

By credibility I mean I know her to be a highly competent and ethical person, and one who understands how fundraising works and how to get it done. I see nothing in the article, or in other reports to date, that leads me to doubt that.

I understand the difference between saying you have money committed and showing your hand, and as I've said, nobody is going to do a deal based on "trust me." But nobody is being asked to do so. We don't even know if there will be a project yet. This finger-pointing is premature and silly.

Roch

"I see nothing in the article, or in other reports to date, that leads me to doubt that." -- Ed

She said the reason she couldn't reveal the donors of the $20M was because they hadn't agreed to allow their names to be public. Now, the director of the project says they are actually waiting for the city to commit funds to the project so they can get to work fundraising. Those two explanations don't jibe, so yes, doubtful that they are being truthful to an objective observer.

Ed Cone

Sorry for a quick, short answer on my way out the door Friday PM. Let me elaborate a bit.

First, the original post referred to Kathy Manning, and now we seem to be talking about Ross Harris, who is quoted in the latest article. It doesn't make a difference to the larger point, just want to be clear.

As I said in the post, and as seems obvious to everyone, at some point the organizers are going to have to show their work on the fundraising.

The confusion here seems to stem from differing views of where they are in that fundraising process. To read Harris' remarks as meaning they have not begun fundraising is incorrect. The real question is whether they are or should be at the point where they have formal pledges ready to announce.

Would it be great to see $20 million in announced, named, pledges? Yes. But given the status of this project, and the nature of capital campaigns, it's premature to expect that.

Let's talk for a moment about the workings of a campaign and the place of a formal pledge in that context.

Capital campaigns typically involve a broad survey of the market, followed by an assessment of possible donors, the latter focusing on capability, interest, and enthusiasm. Donors are then cultivated, and there typically follows a quiet phase in which leadership gifts are solicited and pledges -- sometimes legally binding -- are made. Then the campaign goes public.

This effort seems to have moved with remarkable speed through the first steps. They claim to have identified and engaged individuals and institutions ready to pledge the money in question. That is an enormous accomplishment -- the bulk of the work done, and a firm sense of what the market will bear. But it's as far as they can go right now.

Again, it would be ridiculous to think it could move past a certain point without revealing much more information about firm commitments. But the next step is a firm plan from the City.

Roch

Okee dokie.

Ed Cone

Having said all that, it would be great if the organizers would explain this kind of stuff themselves.

If only there was some easy and cheap way to reach a mass audience and bring transparency to their work...

Fec

I other words, you're full of shit.

Hartzman

I believe the next step is to actually study the affects of on street and deck parking available for local businesses if the GPAC were to go forward.

This venue is to have 300 more seats than DPAC with at least half the available parking within a 1/4 mile among a far more thriving downtown nightlife, which I recall the DPAC location did not really have to our extent before it's inception.

The Southeastern Building incentive request on this week's agenda involves about 50 apartments?

Where are those folks going to park?

From the looks of the building, it appears they are going to park in the Davie Street deck, and/or certainly nearby, which is within a couple hundred yards of where the YWCA property.

That removes 100? parking spaces the GPAC was thinking it would have for patrons.

I left a message for someone at AMS on this and they never got back to me.

I talked to Walker Sanders and he cited the city, which only counted spots, not necessarily ones that could be used.

I don't think Elm Street Center is going to let GPAC parking in their lot if they have a wedding reception happening. I don't see why anyone would want to have an event at the Empire Room if Tony Bennett or whoever is playing that night.

If Roy Carroll were to realize his business mistake on the condos at Center Point and create apartments, how many parking spaces would that eliminate from GPAC patrons?

Those apartments on Elm at the Southeastern building could bring in even more younger folks to downtown at night to party in the midst of 40,000 plus college students, which the GPAC crowd apparently has yet to take into account.

If the Southeastern Building incentive goes through, which it looks to, I believe the GPAC task force will need to actually access the impact of the facility on surrounding businesses, trafic and quality of life issues, which appears to not have been done yet.

Ed Cone

I may be full of shit in general but I'm on firm ground about the way capital campaigns are conducted, and I've done some background reporting on the progress of this one.

They aren't waiting to get to work fundraising, they're waiting to move on to the next phase of fundraising.

George, if people want their downtown to have mall-style parking aprons and are unwilling to walk a bit in an urban environment, then we'll have a crappy downtown. If they understand downtown as a place where you park and walk, we might have a great downtown. No doubt there's a change in mindset required for many people.

Roch

The problem with your explanation, Ed, is that it does not align with the public pronouncements of the committee members. You are explaining a theoretical and, in reality, committee members are leading the public to believe something that diverges from your hypothetical.

While you say "They claim to have identified and engaged individuals and institutions ready to pledge the money in question," they are saying something substantially different—not that they have people "ready" to pledge, but that they actually have commitments:

Harris explained, so far, private donors have committed about $15 million to pay for the project.
Personally, I remain undecided about how I would vote for bonds to fund this. You know me well enough to know that my tendencies would have me lean towards seeing something like this come to fruition. But only if it's done honestly. I might be able to overcome my repulsion at the entanglement of this project with $100,000 (so far) of public patronage to the Mayor's campaign manager, but I won't support it if it means playing the public for dupes.

If the committee wants the city to take action based on them having commitments of $20 million or $15 million or whatever, document them; or legally guarantee them; or just say "We think we can get them" so that our decisions will be honest.

Ed Cone

I think it's "we're pretty damn sure we can get this much money or more, based on some extensive work to date."

The meaning of pledge, commitment, etc. in this context is the source of some confusion here.

And, most importantly, the process itself is confusing. Who does what next? The volunteers are saying it's up to the City to define a plan. That makes sense to me.

Fec

If Ross Harris, the $100K leader of the task force, is a loose cannon, what's the point in transparency. I enjoy wrestling, but watching Harris leave Kathy Manning twisting in the wind on the $20M isn't gonna get the GPAC built.

Roch

"The volunteers are saying it's up to the City to define a plan."

No, they are saying, "We have $15 million, it's time for the city to act based on that" and neither we, nor the City's elected officials have any reason to believe that's true and some reason to doubt it.

I agree with you about the poor communication, however.

Fec

The problem is the few at the top have misrepresented the reality to the volunteers and supporters, leaving people like Ed in as untenable situation.

Fec

What this crisis requires is a scapegoat or sacrificial lamb if you prefer. Heads must roll if we're to have a GPAC.

Ed Cone

Obviously it would be a terrible thing if the leadership of this project was misrepresenting its fundraising accomplishments.

But nobody has presented any evidence whatsoever that that this is the case.

Fec

City council seemed to be laboring under the delusion there was $20M. Otherwise, why would they have bothered to sneak through limited obligation bonds? Oh, I forgot, this is Robme's dog and pony show.

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