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cltbwimob last won the day on December 20 2015

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  1. Such a good game last night. First winning season and bowl eligible. Some are predicting that the 49ers will play in the Belk Bowl. How cool is it that a team that has basically been on the fringes of the Charlotte sports scene essentially since it’s inception is now getting more of the local attention it needs and will possibly play its first bowl game in its own home town? Last year at this time I was kind of disappointed when UNCC rescinded Mike Houston’s offer for the head coaching job and hired Will Healy instead. It felt kind of like we had missed a real opportunity. Looking back on it now, I am glad Houston went to ECU and took his 4-8 season with him. Will Healy is the man, and I can’t imagine to what heights the program may go especially if he has a few more seasons like this season, he’s able to bring his own recruits in, and the stadium and facilities get a proper upfit/expansion fit for an FBS team. I can see a day where the annual App State-University of Charlotte football rivalry game is the hottest ticket in college football for the state of North Carolina.
  2. Are my figures really hyperbolic? Allegiant Stadium, Las Vegas Raiders: $750 mil in tax money on a $1.9 bil stadium-39.5% public funding U.S. Bank Stadium, Minnesota Vikings: $498 mil in taxpayer funds on a $1.1 bil stadium that doesn’t even have a retractable roof like Tepper wants- 45.3% public funding Carolina Panthers Practice Facility: $115 mil In taxpayer funds ($155 mil if the dedicated interchange is thrown into the picture) of $315 mil investment-36.5%-43.7% public funding depending on whether or not you count the interchange Tepper MLS Team+HQ+ BofA Soccer Renovations: $100-$200 mil (est) taxpayer funds on a $325-$425 mil (est) investment-23.5%-61.5% estimated public contribution Which one of these numbers suggests that a) the public contribution to football stadiums isn’t typically 40%-50% or that b) Tepper won’t ask for a 40%-50% contribution? And with the Mercedes-Benz Dome in Atlanta being a $1.6 billion dollar stadium and Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas being a $1.9 billion dollar stadium in today’s dollars, what makes you think that the cost to build a new stadium 10 years down the road will not cost in excess of $2 billion? So with the average cost of new football stadiums approaching $2 billion dollars today (not including cost escalations over the next ten years), the average public contribution to a stadium being somewhere in the 40%-50% range and the average estimated ask from Tepper, based on the new Panthers HQ figures and the estimated figures for his MLS HQ being roughly 40%, can you explain why my numbers hyperbolic? 40% of $2 billion is $800 million is it not? Add that to the $115 mil-$155mil he will receive from S.C. plus the estimated $100mil to $200 mil for MLS/BofA improvements he’s asking for and you get a figure of nearly $1.2 billion in public funding, approximately $1 billion of which comes from Char-Meck. But lets just assume, even though a Tepper has already indicated that he will ask for up to $300+ million in public funding, before even making an ask for the stadium, that he does only ask for $200mil for a new stadium. Is the incremental benefit worth the cost? Again, a retractable roof stadium or dome is not needed for major concerts otherwise Billy Joel and Garth Brooks wouldn’t be coming. BofA already hosts the Panthers and will, assuming we get awarded an MLS team, be host to that as well. So a new stadium is not needed to incentivize a new team to locate here. So the only additional benefit we get with a new stadium is really the marquee games such as the Super Bowl and Final Four. But we wouldn’t get those every year. Heck if we got 2 Super Bowls, 2 Final Fours, and 2 CFB playoffs over the life of the new stadium we’d probably be lucky. Is that worth $200 mil in taxpayer investment considering that we would in theory already have the NFL plus MLS, and could host great concerts in BofA? Is it worth it considering we will have already spent more than that on HQs, practice facilities, and additional renovations to BofA? As for the tourism tax, only certain parts of that tax can be used for stadiums and there are a ton of other liabilities to be funded with that tax including Convention Center, Discovery Place, NASCAR HOF, Memorial Stadium, etc. In fact it’s estimated that the tourism tax as it stands would only allow for $75 million dollars for renovations to the current stadium which means that either a) they will have to raise the tax significantly to fund a new stadium, or b) stadium funding will go to a bond referendum. Since the NCGA has already balked at raising the tourism tax for the Panthers a few years ago and the NCGA is still controlled by many of the same legislators in place when the first renovations to BofA were being negotiated, that option is likely off the table, leaving option “b”, a bond referendum paid for Mecklenburg County residents if it passes.
  3. Really??? A couple hundred mil??? A couple hundred mil isn’t likely to even touch what the final ask will be as he’s already asked for a couple hundred mil from S.C. to move the Panthers there and he’s supposedly asking the city for another couple hundred mil for renovations to BofA plus an MLS headquarters. So he’s already asked taxpayers in various jurisdictions for a couple hundred mil and not the first penny has been spent on a new stadium. The going rate for new NFL stadiums of the caliber he wants to build are $1.6-$1.8 billion dollars in today’s money and will likely exceed $2 billion by the time he gets a new one (assuming he does). If past asks/total investment ratios are any indication, he will likely want the city to pay somewhere around 40-50% of the cost, which means his ask for a new stadium will be likely somewhere in the range of a billion dollars. All told taxpayers between Charlotte-Mecklenburg and South Carolina will likely have to pony up somewhere in the neighborhood of $1.2-1.3 billion with most of that, probably around $1.1 billion, falling on Charlotte-Mecklenburg. And remember this whole notion includes spending tens/hundreds of millions-on top of the $87.5 million already spent-to renovate a stadium that he plans to abandon in 10 years. There’s a couple hundred million right there that will merely be abandoned and presumably demolished. I have to ask since no one thus far has been able to articulate-why do we need a new stadium or what about a new stadium makes it such a good investment? Do we need it to attract headlining concerts? Nope. Billy Joel and Garth Brooks, two of the biggest names in the business and two of only a few acts who can fill a football stadium, are stopping by BofA next year. Do we need a new stadium to bring in MLS? Not likely considering that the MLS commissioner said that our bid was one of the top 3 and had in essence moved to the front of the line. The only incremental benefit to having a new stadium is the ability to host a Super Bowl/ Final Four/ CFB Championship. But are a few Super Bowls and Final Fours worth the $1 bil+ price tag? Not at all. Paying a billion dollars for the chance to host a few marquee games such as the Super Bowl, CFB Championship, or Final Four is kind of like spending a hundred dollars to make ten dollars.
  4. Audience starts with one or two people slow clapping followed by an eruption into thunderous applause, a standing ovation, and chants of MVP (most valuable post).
  5. The beer is here. It’s sold in multiple places around town. Haven’t had a chance to try it yet but intend to do so in the near future. As for the brewery, I was wondering when they would announce something myself, but not willing to write it off yet. How many times have we seen a project get announced with a prospective completion date only to see it go dark for a while, then out of nowhere construction crews appear onsite?
  6. This is correct. We have a large regional jet operation that boosts the number of flights per day, but many of those flights only hold 50-70 people. The ACI list for largest airports that is most often cited is the one using numbers of passengers as the metric, and the airports that occupy that list are usually airports with a ton of international flying with wide body aircraft which hold, depending on configuration, 3-10 times as many passengers per plane as a regional jet.
  7. Could VG Have been a little encryption trick to disguise the true identity of the company WF? V is one letter before W; G is one letter after F.
  8. I think there were a number of things that hurt the referendum: 1. The language on the ballot asked if people wanted to raise the sales tax with no explanatory language. 2. The “for” campaign was deceitful. They downplayed-I believe deliberately- the fact that nearly 50% of the money was going to arts groups. Instead they tried to make the referendum about parks and education. I cannot recall a single commercial from the “for” campaign mentioning that the biggest chunk of money would go to arts. Also they listed a group of purported endorsing individuals who had not given them permission to do so. 3. The opposition, despite lack of funding or organization, had a very clear message- that this was to be a regressive sales tax that would affect the poor the most, that it would hamper our future ability to raise money for high priority items such as the silver line or affordable housing, that there was nothing legally requiring the funding to be earmarked as was suggested, and that the “for” campaign was being deceitful and trying to essentially buy the vote. I think the most impressive thing about how this vote went was that the “for” camp spent $900 to every $1 spent by the “tax alliance” (the official opposition camp). Of course there was spending and other resources invested by “no” voters that weren’t part of the official opposition camp. Even so, the “for” camp had a massive monetary advantage that allowed them to buy TV and radio ads, signs, etc. When I got to my precinct yesterday, there was a guy holding a sign that said “vote no” on a piece of cardboard, and that was the closest thing I saw to any sort of opposition campaign paraphernalia. How the defeat of the quarter cent sales tax bodes for future transit investment is not crystal clear. I think that it’s certainly good that the tax got defeated as it is at least still an option to raise the quarter cent tax for transit funding. However if I were CATS, I would not go and try to get a tax hike on the ballot next year. What I believe CATS needs to do before they ask for anything is to stop using back of the napkin calculations and come up with an actual estimate of the cost of the silver line, blue line extension part 2, and any other capital project along with an estimate for future O&M costs. They also need to do some actual engineering on these projects and come up with an implementation plan, including in what order what projects would take place. They also need to come up with a funding plan, or at least an idea, and how a quarter cent tax might fit into that plan as the additional quarter cent sales tax certainly will not be the whole funding picture. Then they need to have large scale community outreach outlining the challenges and opportunities presented by full buildout of the Big Bang. Then and only then should anyone consider pursuing a sales tax referendum for additional transit funding.
  9. I don’t really think you hijacked the thread, as I thought the coffee house was a place for off-topic and tangential discussions. And it’s always nice to have discussion where two people can fundamentally disagree on something without being disrespectful to each other. That has always been one thing that I have enjoyed about urban planet. Sadly though, I sense that the level of civility that used to be pervasive throughout threads in the urban planet has somewhat diminished.
  10. I’m pretty sure most people would rather have a better job and less access to fresh seafood or a clean beach than the other way around. Seafood is not generally necessary for people’s well-being as they can easily substitute other foodstuffs for seafood. Most people I would suspect though would consider a good job to be imperative to their well-being. Same with access to clean beaches. People can vacation in the mountains. Not saying that seafood or beaches are not important, I just suspect that most people would rather have a good job that affords them the opportunity to participate more freely in the economy even if that requires a trade off with respect to seafood or beaches. Even so, it is not clear to me that the implied premise is correct-that large port city environment’s are necessarily so degraded that residents of those cities have limited access to fresh seafood or limited opportunities for recreational usage of beaches in the vicinities of those cities. Two of the most popular seafood destinations in the country are Charleston and Savannah, and some of the most popular beaches in the world are adjacent to large port cities. As for those on the lower rungs of the economic ladder in Charleston and Savannah, they deserve every bit as much of a chance to work good jobs as those in NC (and indeed they have major industrial employers such as Boeing, Gulfstream, Mercedes Benz, etc that provide those opportunities). I think that misses the point, though. North Carolina and it’s government are agents of their citizenry. As such it is incumbent on the NC government to act on behalf of the economic interest of its own citizens regardless of what’s going on in other states. And if N.C. can divert some of the port business away from Charleston or Savannah and create new opportunities for its own citizens by investing in its own ports, then as agents of the NC population they should be expected to do so. It is no different than a CEO of a major company acting on behalf of his or her shareholders. The CEO of Bank of America should not be expected to act in the best interest of Wells Fargo shareholders and the NC government should not be expected to do what’s in the best interest of S.C. and Georgia residents by deliberately or through negligence refusing investment in their own citizens. Edit: Of course such a sentiment needs to be balanced against other concerns such as the environment, but I am not talking about a situation such as dumping heavy metal toxins directly into a river. I am talking about a situation in which all requisite environmental permits are issued and all regulations pertaining to such issues are followed.
  11. Well, they are already planning on dredging the channel to allow for 14,000 TEU ships. As for me, while I consider myself an environmentally conscious individual, I will gladly take the environmental concerns that come along with dredging in order to have a much more competitive economy in terms of manufacturing and logistics. Jobs in manufacturing and logistics often are beneficial to those on lower rungs of the economic ladder and can help people who have neither the means nor the ability to get a bachelors degree to live a middle-class lifestyle. Clean beaches advance a tourism economy, but in terms of economic development tourism Is not really a good staple sector. Industry and logistics are much better staple sectors. With respect to the number of port facilities each state has, Georgia also has two ports (Savannah and Brunswick) and South Carolina used to have three (Charleston, Port Royal, and Georgetown) although two of those have since closed. So, while it is true that South Carolina can pretty much pour all of its resources into Charleston, that was not historically the case. And it is not true that Georgia can pour all of its resources into Savanah. Not only is Savanah one of the best container ports in the country, Brunswick is one of the most heavily utilized RoRo ports in the country. So even with two ports to invest resources into, Georgia has managed to make them some of the best at their respective specialties.
  12. I forget where I read it but I read that in a recent year-perhaps last year-Wilmington processed ~225k TEU (Twenty ft Equivalent Units) of containers, Charleston processed 1.8M and Savannah processed 3.4M. So to answer your question, Savannah process about 2 times the volume of Charleston which processes about 8 times the volume of Wilmington. North Carolina has, of late, made some heavy investments in the port of Wilmington. Within the past few years they have added several of the neo Panamax cranes, dredged the channel, and widened the turning basin to allow for the passage of 12,000 TEU ships which are significantly larger than the old 5,000-8,000 TEU ships that were the max size the port could handle just a few years ago. At the moment they can accommodate two of the 12,000 TEU ships simultaneously and they are currently planning on widening the turning basin and deepening the channel to accommodate 14,000 TEU ships which are supposedly the largest that routinely call east coast ports. They also, I believe, helped to get the Queen City Express intermodal container service between the port and Charlotte, and I believe that service has since increased to a daily service from a 2-3x weekly service. All that said, where Wilmington faces ostensible challenges is in it’s distance from open ocean, it’s lack of at least two class I railroads, and the fact that there is no freeway connecting a Charlotte directly to Wilmington. With respect to the distance to open ocean, while some think this is an Achilles heel, I honestly believe that is pretty much a moot point considering that the main port facilities in Savannah are also fairly far upstream on a river that is not particularly wide. With regard to the lack of two class 1 railroads, there isn’t much NC can do there other than extend a branch line from the NCRR to Wilmington to allow NS to seve the terminals. The biggest thing NC could do to help drive business to the port, and also the one they have the most control over, is to build an interstate to the port from Charlotte. I believe most of the traffic coming into or departing from Wilmington originates/terminates it’s trip in metro Charlotte. An interstate connection To Charlotte would likely drive even more cargo through Wilmington. Some other ideas I’ve personally thought of to drive more ship traffic and therefore more commerce to Wilmington: NCSPA could add some RoRo facilities (NCSPA has no dedicated RoRo facilities) and perhaps work to extend the Atlantic Coast Pipeline to Wilmington and create a natural gas export terminal. Also N.C. could try to create a large distribution and manufacturing cluster in New Hanover and Brunswick counties such as those in/near Charleston and Savannah.
  13. Speaking of the BLE, August numbers for light rail ridership are out, and it looks as if there has been a marked improvement y-o-y.... with operational issues galore no less. If they could get their operational issues sorted out, my guess is that ridership would be much better than it is today.
  14. I nominate TW for the “Most Clever UP Poster” award. His body of work speaks for itself.
  15. Well the good news is that if/when new gate space arrives for wide body aircraft, British Airways could potentially provide the service rather than a Third AA trip. I think if AA would have used the slot pair for CLT-LHR, there would be virtually zero hope for ever seeing British Airways return to Charlotte. At least now there is a chance that the rumored third daily could be on BA metal.
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