Don’t Say I Didn’t Warn You, Dallas

Last year I told you that the People’s Hotel — the planned half a billion dollar city-owned convention center hotel — was a financial quagmire in the making, supported by people who don’t know the first thing about business and don’t care how much money they waste since it’s not their money.

The convention center hotel is a project for which there is no demand, and it’s the taxpayers of Dallas who will be on the hook when it tanks. Meanwhile, Convention & Visitors Bureau Philip Jones will be cashing his checks and skipping on out of town like Robert Preston.

Guess what? The house of cards is beginning to tumble.

In January the U.S. Treasurer, Rosie Rios, traveled to Dallas to join local officials at the construction site of a new convention hotel being built with money raised through Build America Bonds. The purpose was to celebrate the success of the so-called BABs, which are federally-subsidized bonds created by the 2009 stimulus package.

Of course, what no one at the Dallas “celebration” pointed out is that the $388 million in BABs that the city floated with federal aid were necessary because no private developer would cough up the money for the risky project. In fact, local officials wanted to build the controversial hotel because years of frenetic, publicly financed convention center construction by cities had saddled the country with much more meeting space than it needs, and now meeting planners are telling cities they must to ante up money for additional amenities, like new subsidized hotels, or risk losing business.

This is what passes for success in Washington these days, where apparently any level and manner of publicly subsidized debt for any kind of dubious project is considered a home run.

Full piece here.


  1. Tom says:

    Jones already skips town nightly — to his home in Southlake.
    Shouldn’t a guy whose job is to promote Dallas think enough of the city that he wants to live in it?

  2. You know I can’t stay away from this one.

    I will always remember the words of City Council Candidate Tony Rios “Right now people are hurting… if building that hotel will create even 1 job… then it will have been worth it!”
    (and people clapped) Yes, 550 million dollars for 1 job. Can it be my job?

    It was at that point that I thought, maybe I really should try to get elected..

  3. Libertarian Fantasies says:

    For open-borders Texas libertarians:

    Harris County, Texas, the nation’s third-largest, grew by 1.4 million since 1980. Its immigrant population tripled as a share of total population to 25 percent. Where Reagan carried Harris with 58 percent, McCain lost it with 49 percent.

    Dallas County added a million people to hit 2.5 million by 2008, as its immigrant population surged from 5 percent to 27 percent. Where Reagan won 59 percent of Dallas County, McCain got only 42 percent.

  4. What About the Trinity says:

    Good for you for railing against the stupid hotel. I have to say I’m disappointed that you not exhibited the same passion for the failure of the Trinity River development, which will prove to be a bigger boondoggle than the hotel.