It can spur activity but over the life of the arena Charlotte will be on the hook for over $500 million + the costs of building/demolishing The Coliseum. If the public used the $600 million inflation-adjusted dollars to spur downtown core private investment, that seed money would attract billions in private funds to shape the community in a more sustainable manner.
These downtown surface parking lots discourage walkability. They also make my eyes bleed. The seed money could have jumped mixed-use projects to encourage people to live and shop there 24/7. The increase in the tax base and reduced infrastructure costs would have provided generational economic advantages.
Weeeeelll, you just made my point Mr. Photo Circa 2006 ... If you were to stand about 30 floors up at Trade and Tryon today, you'd see massive build out North, South, East and West. You'd also see BB&T Ballpark (which ONLY makes sense following the TWC Arena being planted in downtown) and what could be a future 26,000 MLS soccer facility - all within 2 square miles of downtown, all accessible by light rail/trolley.
Your eyes will bleed far less today and far far less by 2019. The surface lots to the right of the arena in your picture are now office buildings and parking structures. The surface lot even in this picture above that posted is now in process of being converted into a hotel and downtown park (two full blocks of downtown).
As for the what the "public" spends...
"The facility was paid for with two bond issues, backed by revenue from city tourist taxes. Bank of America, Duke Energy and Wachovia are underwriting $100 million in exchange for approximately $50 million from the sale of real estate downtown, where the venue is located. $16.8 million is coming from exclusive food and beverage rights, and there is a 3% seat tax at events in city arenas generating $15 million."
-- from http://law.marquette...tte-bobcats.pdf
and what the public spends on renovations...
"The money to support the renovations will come from revenue derived from rental car and hotel/motel taxes."
-- from http://charmeck.org/...g/arena faq.pdf
No sooner did I post this that I noticed in the paper the ground breaking for 615 South College and .... to alleviate another surface lot from 2006 .... 1 Brevard (
To me, there's so much right about what Charlotte is doing inside the city limits and especially within the inner radius, be it Urban Density, Historic Districts, Pedscape, Light Rail/Trolley, Bus service, etc ... I just don't buy the arguments that strategic minded cities do good works and benefit the public at large.