Bankrupt Detroit to Get New, Tax-Financed Hockey Arena: Insane Clown Posse Now Only Second-Biggest Area Joke.


Detroit may be bankrupt but it is rich in subsidies. Via ESPN:

A state board on Wednesday unanimously gave the go-ahead for a new Red Wings hockey arena in downtown Detroit to be paid for in part with $284 million in tax dollars even as the broke city works through bankruptcy proceedings.

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder and others defended against criticism that the $650 million project should be financed entirely with private money because the city currently can't provide basic services and retirees are facing cuts in their pensions. The 18,000-seat arena is designed to be a catalyst for more development and to link downtown and midtown, turning a blighted area into a business, residential and entertainment district.

"This is part of investing in Detroit's future," said Snyder, a Republican who blessed a state-appointed emergency manager's request to take the city into bankruptcy last week. "That's the message we need to get across. … As we stabilize the city government's finances, as we address those issues and improve services, Detroit moves from a place where people might have had a negative impression—although there are great things already going on—to being a place that will be recognized across the world as a place of great value and a place to invest."

You know what? It's not investing in Detroit's future, it's simply extending its failed past legacy of pursuing negative-bang-for-the-buck big-ticket projects at the cost of actually keeping the city functioning.

All the Stanley Cups and all the baseball and football stadiums and "people movers" and fancy theaters paid for via tax dollars aren't going to save a city that's shed 1.3 million people since a peak population of almost 2 million in 1950.

If you want to be a mensch, use the $284 million in public dough to buy one-way bus tickets out of town for all who want to leave. And if you want to see Detroit thrive, never speak of publicly funded edifice-complex projects ever again until every kid is attending a school of choice, every pothole is filled, and just about everything else is outsourced.

HT: Prateik Dalmia.

Watch "Detroit's Tragedy and How to Fix It."

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  1. The 18,000-seat arena is designed to be a catalyst for more development and to link downtown and midtown, turning a blighted area into a business, residential and entertainment district.

    Oh, it was designed to be a catalyst. What could go wrong?

    1. Nothing. And if it does go wrong, it’s all the fault of corporations.

      1. And racists who don’t want to spend their money in a crime-ridden dump.

        1. I’d spend money there if they’d secure the city with a force of police robots. Otherwise, nothing doing.

          1. Why do you hate dogs so much?

            1. I said robots. Robots can be programmed to merely taze dogs into submission.

              1. Can

                And why, pray tell, would police want to inhibit such effective machinery?

                1. I, for one, have no intention of letting the human police within a mile of Detroit. The robots are union-busters, too.

                  1. Now you’re speaking my language.

          2. Serve the public trust. Protect the innocent. Uphold the law. I’d buy that for a dollar!

            1. You have ten seconds to comply.

    2. Seriously. When the hell has this ever worked? An arena can marginally improve a neighborhood by necessitating increased security and providing exposure to 15,000 people a night that wouldn’t otherwise go there, but it never completely changes the character of the surrounding area.

      The South Bronx is still a dump despite the shining cathedral that is Yankee Stadium and you still don’t want to be more than 10 blocks from Penn Station in Newark despite the existence of the Prudential Center and its increased police presence.

      1. When the hell has this ever worked?

        Never. At its best, it shifts spending from many neighborhoods into one neighborhood.

      2. I drive past M&T stadium every day to and from work. It’s used fewer than 15 times a year.

        Do you know what’s around it? NOTHING. Camden Yards is across the road. Do you know what’s around it? Practically nothing. Then there’s Nationals Stadium in DC. Yes, that’s right, NOTHING is around it.

        Someone’s making money on these, but it isn’t anyone not tied into the stadiums.

        1. Not that I support the public financing of those stadiums, but there isn’t that much building you can do around them, unless it is to the West of them

          1. I was referring to Baltimore, not DC. Fuck DC.

          2. I don’t tihnk I’ve every seen any stadium anywhere,that wasn’t surrounded by nothing. A stadium by definition is surrounded by miles of parking garages and lots. A vast expanse of parking lot, reserved for sports fans, isn’t something that encourages trendy restauraunts and stores to sprout up spontaneously. Nobody leaves the football stadium and goes “across the street” for drinks because “across the street” is half a mile away, possibly across several road barriers and an overpass.

            1. See Key Arena in Seattle, but then again the NBA deemed it financially unsustainable and arranged for the team to leave town.

            2. Camden Yards has some parking, but it’s largely in the middle of south Bal’mer.

            3. SF Giants baseball park is done right, and I believe it was entirely privately financed. But I don’t know about tax breaks or special zoning etc.

        2. JW – Aren’t the convention center, inner harbor tourist area, and the downtown business hub like two blocks from Camden?

          1. They’re a couple blocks away, but none of those are a result of the stadium. I should have been clearer about that. But the area around M&T is unmarred by any retail businesses.

            There are some bars and businesses around the Yards and to be fair, a baseball stadium is much more valuable than a football stadium, just by the number of games played.

      3. It actually did work in Denver. Before Coors field, the entire area (a few blocks from the central business area downtown) was a wasteland. Within 5 years the whole area was full of brewpubs and expensive lofts that filled up faster than you could build them.

        1. The lofts had begun before Coors Field was built, but you’re right about it becoming the catalyst for LoDo’s resurgence, albeit south of 20th (no way in hell would I go north of Coors even in broad daylight). It’s one of the few examples of a sports stadium truly remaking the blighted neighborhood it was meant to transform.

          Not that it lets the Rockies and the City of Denver off the hook for bamboozling taxpayers into providing most of the funds, but at least it served its intended purpose.

          Here’s some pics that show just how desolate the area was:

      4. You don’t want to be anywhere near Turner field in ATL an hour after the game ends.

    3. You know how it *might* be a catalyst?

      If it were a colosseum in which politicians did battle with *real* Detroit Lions.

      1. I would pay to see that. Especially if they could figure out a way to make the lions naturally blue, extra ferocious, and thrice the size of normal.

        1. So direlions?

          1. Yes, but blue. I can’t stress blue enough.

          2. The sigil of Tyrion and Sansa’s offspring?

        2. What about Ligers?

    4. This is why, if I get laid off, I’m immediately going to go out and buy a Lexus or two. Y’know, to invest in my future, improve my blighted driveway and elevate potential employer’s perception of me.

    5. It’s sooooo stupid. The “If you build it, they will come” mentality. As if building a stadium will cause sports teams to spring into being. Just like building a factory will cause customers to demand its products, and building a giant office building will cause law firms and accounting agencies to suddenly need more space.

      Where the fuck are people in detroit supposed to get the money to buy tickets and spend it at all the boutique stores you expect to move in ,anyway?

      1. Detroit politician: “Er, ah, RACIST!”

  2. HT: Prateik Dalmia

    It’s Dalmia’s all the way down.

    1. But is not a True Dalmia unless it involved GOP negativity toward immigrants.

  3. “negative-band-for-the-buck”…bang?

    1. Fixed. Though with a legacy that includes ICP, Bog Seger, and the Nuge…

      1. Bog Seger?

          1. Holy fuck, do I hate Bob Seger.

      2. Detroit Symphony City!

  4. What are you liberthugicans on about, Detroit doesn’t have enough government, that’s why it’s in such bad shape. MSNBC told me so!

  5. Just keep on keepin’ on with Krugabe logic there. You’ll spend yourselves out of that hole eventually, Detroit. Promise.

    1. Investing money in things without a positive ROI is a bad thing, whether you’re an individual, a company, or a governmental entity.

      And even if they come up with some bullshit ROI forecast, is it still the best return on the investment dollar? Leaving aside whether an entity attempting to file bankruptcy should be “investing” at all (or whether government should be doing it at all, either).

      1. The bankruptcy judge should shut this down.

        1. He’s just as interested in feeding the black hole that is Detroit as the rest of those fuckers.

        2. Why? Detroit is spending other people’s money on this project.

    2. Saw Pacific Rim last night. I assume that movie is masturbation material for neo-keynsians like Krugman.

      1. It’s about robots fighting monsters and scoring Asian pussy in the middle of a war.

        But there are little digs all over the movie. Windows get broken, border fences/walls get smashed, Stock Character “Science Guy Who’s Right When The Military” is wrong blames Climate Change/Industrialization for “terraforming” the planet and attracting the monsters.

        I just enjoyed watching big robots smash shit.

        1. The robots have sex? This movie sounds pretty weird.

          1. Don’t hate, bro.

          2. Stop with your cis-biological othering.

    3. Is this even really Krugabe logic? I mean Krugman would applaud the stimulative effect of building the actual stadium, but as soons as the construction crews leave the “stimulus” would disappear.

      This seems more like a government-supply-side logic. Instead of private investors putting it into producing more stuff that people are demanding, it’s the government taking money and producing a stadium that nobody needs.

      1. Obviously the solution is to keep building bigger and bigger stadiums.

  6. “That’s the message we need to get across. …

    Oh, we know that’s the message you want to get across. It’s all about getting the right message across.

  7. Oh, and by the way, for those libertarians that always think that all we need is one big failure to make everyone realize the truth about spending and budgets… this is proof that it never, ever happens.

    I’m telling you we can get to the point where we’re shoveling people into ovens, and the people in charge will still say, “We’re investing in the future!”

  8. The 18,000-seat arena is designed to be a catalyst for more development and to link downtown and midtown, turning a blighted area into a business, residential and entertainment district.

    “Hey, Rocky! Watch me pull a catalyst outta muh ass!”

  9. Just one more reason to hate the Dead Things. Sweet!

  10. It’s all about getting the right message across.

    “It’s the narrative, stupid.”

  11. “Joe Louis Arena

    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Broke ground
    May 16, 1977[1]

    December 12, 1979

    City Of Detroit

    Olympia Entertainment

    Construction cost
    $57 million
    ($180 million in 2013 dollars)”

    The current building is only 34 years old, how are they justifying a need for a new building that is about 4 time the cost in constant dollars?

    1. That is a constant. Every time a stadium/arena gets to be 20+ years old, the sports team declares that it will move out if the city/county doesn’t build a new one.

      If the one they built 34 years ago did not ‘revitalize’ the city as promised, why will the new one do so?

      1. Cause they’re going to spend even *more* money building shit nobody cares about!

      2. Yes it is, and it is a feedback loop. The teams would not consider these venues disposable if the local government’s were not willing to put their taxpayers on the hook for the cost.

    2. There’s constant dollars, and then there’s union work rules.

  12. Jerbs, jerbs, jerbs!

  13. I’d normally agree but, the poor you’ll always have with you, this is the fucking Wings man.

    1. I thought Linda died a long time ago!

    2. Yes, a team whose whining completely fucked up the NHL’s realignment and playoff system into an unholy mess.

      1. Screw you. For years the Wings were the only team in the Eastern Time Zone playing games on the West Coast on a regular basis. But forget about the players – having to stay up till 2 am on a Tuesday night to watch a playoff game was bullshit for the fans.

        1. How does that justify what the league did to the entire system to solve a local problem?

  14. A moronic legislature is giving free money to a scumbag sports owner? Everybody say it with me: FUCK ART MODELL.

    1. and Little Caesars Pizza

    2. Warty requests Cleveland Browns pall bearers so the Browns can let him down one last time.

  15. Investing money in things without a positive ROI is a bad thing, whether you’re an individual, a company, or a governmental entity.

    You can’t put a price tag on civic pride!

  16. If the one they built 34 years ago did not ‘revitalize’ the city as promised, why will the new one do so?


    1. Right, you need more skyboxes to encourage super rich people to move to Detroit.

  17. The only thing that will stop this kind of nonsense is to change the tax law so that, if a city or county issues a bond to build an arena, stadium or museum, EVERY bond issued by that city or county loses tax free status.

  18. I’ve been to the old Joe – it’s a fine arena. Even my nosebleed seats offered a good view of the action.

    1. Nosebleed seats, indeed! I remember when “4 ride as cheap as 2” cabbies would pick us up in Westborn and drop us off at Olympia to spend the evening tilted forward from a seat asttached to a fucking roof beam, gazing at the ice a thousand feet below.
      There isn’t a truly bad seat (or SRO spot) in the house.

  19. Look, if you’re going to live the glorious future of televised bloodsport run by corrupt megacorpations, you need an arena. It’s just common sense.

  20. The sign that you’re a “serious” country, or city, is that you build big things.

    Rachel Maddow told me so.

    Speaking of which, how are those Pharoahs doing in Egypt?

    1. In other words, Detroit’s got an inferiority complex.

      1. That, and a spending problem

    2. If I were Egyptian and craved power, I’d assert my rights to. . .the, what, Pharaohship? And campaign solely on the basis that the current problems are the fault of the pharaohs.

      1. Things must have been so sweet for ancient rulers in the Middle East. You have an entire population who’s been conditioned to believe that you being in charge was ordained by divine power, which reduced the chances of mass revolt and kept you in the high chair for life. So really, the only threats to losing your head was either a foreign invader or a palace coup, which very few of these guys ever experienced.

        1. got those Dead Eqyptian Blues, no?

        2. Hey, yeah, the gods just said for to build me more shit. Oh, and more submitting to my will. Sorry, but that’s how it is.

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