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NASCAR Plaza at the Hall of Fame


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no pass for me.  In my opinion ANYONE designing ANYTHING in uptown Charlotte (or ANY CBD) since 1995 should've and should consider a human scale on every street.

Once they convert 277 into an urban NASCAR track the HOFs fortunes will change.

I think having a large open plaza can be an asset for the city in the future.  It's dead right now, but as the area grows more, it'll be nice to offer these kind of large spaces for events and such.  

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  • 6 months later...

I took my sister, wife, nephews and brother-in-law to the Nascar Hall of Fame this weekend. We were floored, especially since none of us are Nascar Fans. We went because my Nephew is obsessed with race cars. We liked it so much that we ended up watching Daytona and enjoying it a little more. I couldn't believe how thoughfully put together the whole thing is, I will recommend it to more people visiting Charlotte.

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So, since the HOF has continued to decline: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2013/07/12/4161804/nascar-hall-had-176000-visitors.html

and it remains a financial albatross for the CRVA. I have an idea:

 

The HOF should capitalize on Charlotte's brewery boom and actively produce and sell (on premises) moonshine. This could kill several birds with one stone: 1) extra revenue, 2) provide another exhibit documenting the origins of the sport and 3) open up a fancy rooftop patio / taproom / bar for folks. 

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So, since the HOF has continued to decline: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2013/07/12/4161804/nascar-hall-had-176000-visitors.html

and it remains a financial albatross for the CRVA. I have an idea:

 

The HOF should capitalize on Charlotte's brewery boom and actively produce and sell (on premises) moonshine. This could kill several birds with one stone: 1) extra revenue, 2) provide another exhibit documenting the origins of the sport and 3) open up a fancy rooftop patio / taproom / bar for folks. 

 

This is a great idea. This would be awesome and help bring people to that side of town....are there ever people in the BW3 at night????

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So, since the HOF has continued to decline: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2013/07/12/4161804/nascar-hall-had-176000-visitors.html

and it remains a financial albatross for the CRVA. I have an idea:

 

The HOF should capitalize on Charlotte's brewery boom and actively produce and sell (on premises) moonshine. This could kill several birds with one stone: 1) extra revenue, 2) provide another exhibit documenting the origins of the sport and 3) open up a fancy rooftop patio / taproom / bar for folks.

Great idea, but zoning would screw that in a heart beat, as strict as it was on breweries, I can't machine what it would be on distilleries, I'll try to do some digging and find out.
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^ I was mostly being tongue in cheek with the moonshine suggestion. But declining attendance (that was already less than half the 'expected' levels) suggests that something needs to be done. 

 

I had actually forgotten about BW3 if/when that goes (I never see anyone in there) its going to be even bleaker over there.

 

The possible loss of one of our two big races would also be a huge blow.

 

Its getting harder to see any upside to the HOF -- so more alcohol should be involved.

Edited by kermit
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So, since the HOF has continued to decline: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2013/07/12/4161804/nascar-hall-had-176000-visitors.html

and it remains a financial albatross for the CRVA. I have an idea:

The HOF should capitalize on Charlotte's brewery boom and actively produce and sell (on premises) moonshine. This could kill several birds with one stone: 1) extra revenue, 2) provide another exhibit documenting the origins of the sport and 3) open up a fancy rooftop patio / taproom / bar for folks.

You know, to be fair to the NHOF, most of the bad publicity on attendance is really a result of the insane projections and expectations it had. When lined up next to other "Hall of Fames" in sports, it's really doing quite okay.

NHOF - 176,838 (2012)

Baseball HOF - 267,000 (2011)

Football HOF - 191,943 (2010)

Hockey HOF - cannot find them )-: )-:

NBA HOF - roughly 200,000 appears to be the figure throw around

This is an article from 2011, but paints a good picture of what's going on.

http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/sports/story/2011-10-02/sports-museums-feeling-economic-pinch/51031494/1

So anyways, cut the place a little slack. That said...who said something about moonshine?!

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Does the NHOF hold any special events or anything? I mean, they should like schedule autograph signing or driver meet and greets or something to help get people in the door. People will pay money to get to meet their favorite drivers. Or maybe have days where you get buy one ticket get the other half off or something. These NHOF people gotta start thinking about how to get more people in the door.

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^^^ This!

 

Definitely the number one issue is the ticket prices/ or at least the ticket pricing structure.  I know I'm not likely to fork over $20 on a whim.    In comparison I have visited the Becthler, Mint, and Gantt multiple times and have brought out of town guests (though the city as a whole needs to wake up and offer day cultural passes that gets you into all for a flat fee or lets you build a visit structure (2 museums = $; 3 museums = $, museum + show = $).

Anyway - back to the HoF - I've had several people with me when it's a group (3-5) of out of town guests and someone always quickly does the math of how much combined we'd be paying to get into the facility and every single time that preferred choice for that $60-$100 is always to be spent towards us all going out to eat instead.

 

Outside of pricing the thing that they should really put on the front burner is that built in studio next to the Front entrance and plaza.   They need to get people to want to walk towards that part of Uptown on a regular basis to see what is going on.   It doesn't have to be NASCAR related either - hell - get a daily radio show in there for crying out loud.  Get a partnership with WFAE.  

 

The Plaza itself needs to have a regular use such as free concerts every Friday night with local bands.  Have an occasional Alive after Five there (once a month).  

 

In the day times why not have a lunchtime  green market there as well on weekdays.  Yes I know the city is promoting the 7th STreet Market but if you work at the Duke Tower or Wells buildings you may not have the time on your lunch hour to walk to First Ward.

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They ought to put that sweet "Days of Thunder" ride that used to be at Carowinds next to the NHOF. That 3D adventure, a small local moonshine distillery, NHOF, maybe an NC Film museum plus the hotels currently U/C or proposed in the area and then maybe slap a Ripleys or Hard Rock ect ect in there. Bam! Tourist central.

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The issue with hall of fames are that they are really one a time see.   If you aren't a hardcore Nascar fan, are you really going to want to go again and again?   The Nascar population is generally of lower socioeconomic status I believe (could use some facts here), and a declining fan base doesn't help the cause either.

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They ought to put that sweet "Days of Thunder" ride that used to be at Carowinds next to the NHOF. That 3D adventure, a small local moonshine distillery, NHOF, maybe an NC Film museum plus the hotels currently U/C or proposed in the area and then maybe slap a Ripleys or Hard Rock ect ect in there. Bam! Tourist central.

 

I think First Ward could sustain some Redneck Riviera-style attractions - it's the perfect spot for a John Boy and Billy compound: restaurant / bar / store/ venue / broadcast booth.

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 1 year later...

To nobody's surprise... The city council voted to have the banks write off the remaining amount of the Nascar HOF loan after a one time payment of $5M. If I were a shareholder for one of those banks, I'd be irate about this. If nothing else, just based on principal. Even with the loan being written off, the hall will still lose money based off projections... I've been to the museum once. It was cool. But nothing that would make me go back over and over. And that's always been the problem. It doesn't appeal enough to the average non-Nascar Joe. 

 

http://www.bizjournals.com/charlotte/blog/queen_city_agenda/2015/01/city-oks-deal-for-writing-off-nascar-hall-of-fame.html?page=all

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To nobody's surprise... The city council voted to have the banks write off the remaining amount of the Nascar HOF loan after a one time payment of $5M. If I were a shareholder for one of those banks, I'd be irate about this. If nothing else, just based on principal. Even with the loan being written off, the hall will still lose money based off projections... I've been to the museum once. It was cool. But nothing that would make me go back over and over. And that's always been the problem. It doesn't appeal enough to the average non-Nascar Joe. 

 

http://www.bizjournals.com/charlotte/blog/queen_city_agenda/2015/01/city-oks-deal-for-writing-off-nascar-hall-of-fame.html?page=all

Being a BofA shareholder (albiet a very small one), I couldn't care less. We make billions a quarter, this might as well just be a donation to the hall. As far as the viability of the HOF is concerned, they will operate a bit closer to the black now, but yes will still probably lose money. It's shiny, that's about it.

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I think it's a wonderful thing what the banks have done. Bank of America has given a lot of money to the Charlotte community.

There are smart people in this city. Hopefully over the next fewyears they can come up with a plan. Even if that means the museum leaves uptown.

I'd rather have a WWII or a satellite Smithsonian museum. At least you could draw Middle school field trips to boost revenue.

Edited by AirNostrumMAD
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Being a BofA shareholder (albiet a very small one), I couldn't care less. We make billions a quarter, this might as well just be a donation to the hall. As far as the viability of the HOF is concerned, they will operate a bit closer to the black now, but yes will still probably lose money. It's shiny, that's about it.

 

The problem with that viewpoint is that it makes it seem OK to make a bad a business decision. It's like buying a $600k home just because you just got a new $200k year job. Then you lose that job and have to settle for a salary at half the amount. Should the bank automatically just write off your loan because you bit off more than you could chew? No. While I'd much rather this scenario than us (the taxpayers) footing the bill, I just think it sends the wrong message. I've always been a man of my word and just have a fundamental problem with that approach...   

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The problem with that viewpoint is that it makes it seem OK to make a bad a business decision. It's like buying a $600k home just because you just got a new $200k year job. Then you lose that job and have to settle for a salary at half the amount. Should the bank automatically just write off your loan because you bit off more than you could chew? No. While I'd much rather this scenario than us (the taxpayers) footing the bill, I just think it sends the wrong message. I've always been a man of my word and just have a fundamental problem with that approach...   

I don't disagree that it sets a bad precedent. However, banks aren't really in the business of giving away and losing money, so I would go ahead and say that 'taking advantage' of BofA and Wells isn't going to be a common practice. It's a bad precedent, but I don't think this is opening pandora's box.

Edited by Jayvee
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The problem with that viewpoint is that it makes it seem OK to make a bad a business decision. It's like buying a $600k home just because you just got a new $200k year job. Then you lose that job and have to settle for a salary at half the amount. Should the bank automatically just write off your loan because you bit off more than you could chew? No. While I'd much rather this scenario than us (the taxpayers) footing the bill, I just think it sends the wrong message. I've always been a man of my word and just have a fundamental problem with that approach...   

 

Comparing the NASCAR HOF to a home mortgage is an apples-to-oranges comparison.  It is ok to take issue with the initial underwriting of the loan.  It is now clear that the projections on the number of visitors was WAY off. A lot of this likely had to do with the over generous lending standards over the mid-2000's, but some of it had to do with the impacts of the recession on NASCAR.  NASCAR saw a tremendous slide in viewership during the recession with numbers decreasing in excess of 10% per year for at least three consecutive years.  This was clearly not taken into consideration, which when added on top of the overly optimistic visitor projections led to even worse issues.  On top of all this is the collapse in Uptown rental rates during the recession which occurred prior to leasing this building up.  I agree with what I believe Jayvee and AirNostrum are implying, which is the BOA decided to be take a risk they would not have taken if they did not see some charitable benefit.

 

Also, given the uniqueness of the asset and the existing lease with the HOF and Chiquita, it would be incredibly hard to reposition the asset.  When combined with the charitable motivation behind the origination of the loan, a write-off makes perfect sense.  It is certainly good business for the City.  This will have a very similar tax impact as a charitable donation, so as a shareholder no one should be that upset.

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Business decisions are risks.  Bad business decisions are only known after the fact, and this one has proven bad.

 

Bank leaders at the time were pushing the city to do this and these loans were part of a package of support for the project.  Obviously at the time there was a lot of optimism on the tourist potential of this museum, even the hype and joy on UP was palpable and we saw massive numbers of posts and views on the topic.

 

Somehow the fact that so many tourists come here for the races seemed to translate into the idea that it would be a success locally and with the visitors that already come. 

 

I think the fact that it didn't was not only a matter of the drop in fan support for NASCAR at large, but also that the city itself has evolved and grown past some traditional local favorites.   I think most of the people who have moved here in the last decade are from other regions with little cultural ties to stock car racing.

 

I, personally, have only ever gone in the museum once, for a work mixer at which I completely skipped all the museum-related exhibits.  I have been to the ballroom upstairs a few times for events as well.  I think that is the norm.  

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