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Casino Site Poll

Best Casino Site/Developer   15 members have voted

  1. 1. Where do you think Pittsburgh's slots casino should be located?

    • The Lower Hill (Isle of Capri)
      12
    • Station Square (Harrah's)
      3
    • North Side (Majestic Star Casino)
      0

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23 posts in this topic

Given the "Plan B" option means a new arena get funded no matter what...

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Though I support Isle of Capri's plan... I would prefer the casino be located at Station Square... which seems an appropriate location for such an operation. However, there have been issues made about inadequate transportation infrastructure at that location. So perhaps the Lower Hill is the best location... the North Side location (near West End Bridge, right?) doesn't seem to have any edge over the other two.

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Station Square already has an identity and doesn't need the casino same with the North side, the lower hill needs a new identity, they need the casino, the others just want it.

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Though I support Isle of Capri's plan... I would prefer the casino be located at Station Square... which seems an appropriate location for such an operation. However, there have been issues made about inadequate transportation infrastructure at that location. So perhaps the Lower Hill is the best location... the North Side location (near West End Bridge, right?) doesn't seem to have any edge over the other two.

I agree that Station Square is the best location, but Harrah's isn't the best deal. I just can't see how a casino in the Uptown/Lower Hill makes sense.

I do think that the Station Square area won't be as bad as claimed, but some support may be needed there (I haved no idea how).

In any case, while I havent' really seen enough of Rendell's plan, I am skeptical of this whole thing.

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Station Square already has an identity and doesn't need the casino same with the North side, the lower hill needs a new identity, they need the casino, the others just want it.

The Lower Hill doesn't *need* a casino... but it does need redevelopment... I think the best case scenario would be all the office towers, housing, street grid establishment, etc without the casino being located there. An existing tacky tourist destination like Station Square would be the best location for a casino. But I suppose that's an impossibility due to the nature of these proposals.

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Station Square has the identity of a tourist destination and entertainment area that is largely accessible and self contained. Its location and premise make it logistically ideal. As Evergray noted what the Lower Hill needs is development. I think that a casino would be awkward for a location and not a benefit for the neighborhood.

It's too bad that the State can't go to the two and work something out, but that won't happen.

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I agree with Evergrey on the redevelopment side, for me it comes down to which area adjacent to downtown that needs the most help, the northshore and station square are all doing great right now, I just wish that DU and the casino could come to some sort of agreement that is a win-win for both.

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Puttins a casino somewhere should not be based on how its physical presence will help that area. A casino is a major draw and an entertainment venue and its location should make sense. A casino will not help Uptown. The proposed other developments will help Uptown. That is what Uptown needs. There really is no reason why casino should have to go there, in order for the area to be redeveloped.

Additionally it would be awkward to have casino two blocks from a university. This thing just can't be dropped anywhere.

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I think the Hays site that was proposed by Beaver County's Betters would be appropriate for a casino as well. It's so remote and out-of-the-way that it would have minimal negative impact on the city. And being that a casino would be a destination... being a bit "out-of-the-way" wouldn't hurt the casino IMO.

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^^Evergrey I too was hoping for the Hays site, great views on the city and the river, "Pittsburgh Palisades" and such. The only downside to Hays was the transportation up there and to that area of the city (no interstates).

I agree uptown isn't the best place for the casino, northshore would be the best in my mind with the entertainment venues and the chance for tourism coming across from the Convention Cntr. and for baseball and football.

Station Sq. is nice but just way to compact in my mind.

I'd love to see a MAJOR push to redevelop the lower hill and the only thing on the horizon in the next decade or so seems to be the Casino.

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Here is some justification from city traffic engineers on the impact of a casino in tightly packed Station Square, very very interesting reading on the infrastructure costs that are entailed when planning a massive tourist-attracting develop like a casino.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/06103/681904-100.stm

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The recent issue of Viepoint has notes from Harrah's and Forrest City's pitch for their plan to residents of Mt Washington.

http://www.mwcdc.org/VPAPR2006.pdf

Being that I'm in the minority on this board in supporting the Station Square plan, I want to reinforce the reasons for it. Nearly twice as much annual tax revenue (13 million) as the nearest competing proposal, better paying union jobs, and the prospect of augmenting the current biggest tourist destination in Western PA (2.5 million visitors) into a truly world class destination. Trust me when I say this, but besides weird delegations of 100-strong Russian Penguins fans, the lower hill completely lacks the tourist drawing power of Station Square.

And the transportation arguments just don't hold any water. IMO The only difference as far as cars is that exits signs are clearly marked for the Mellon Arena wheras for Station Square they are not. Consider the Grant Street exit from 376 which lets off very conveniently for the Smithfield Bridge, but it is not marked as going to Station Square. The same for the approach from Veteran's bridge and Duquesne bridge. It's just as easy but it's not marked.

Meanwhile, the Mellon Arena has already proven itself to clog up Downtown traffic patterns anytime there's a big daytime event. The question is whether to have heavy traffic in an area that thrives on tourism or intolerable traffic in the city's economic core.

Furthermore, Station Square is better connected to mass transit, established retail, Downtown, the stadiums, rivers, etc. It's not even comparable. We won't ever see celebrities and millionares anchoring their mega-yachts in the lower hill. There are tons of hidden benefits such as boat registration and docking fees all over the three rivers that a waterfront casino would bring in that the hill won't ever. It will give tourists access to the riverfront trails being built, etc, and really drive home the image of Pittsburgh as a healthy, forward thinking city. In a few years you'll be able to ride a bicycle from Station Square past South Side Works, Sandcastle, Waterfront, etc, and not have to contend with countless hills or traffic. This could be perfectly complimented by a pedestrian bridge over the old Wabash piers that would provide unimpeded pedestrian access to the Point, including the Hilton, etc. There are no comparable possibilities for developing the lower hill to drive the established local economy in any of these ways.

My opinion is that the lower hill plan is just a repetition of the blunt-force-trauma urban planning mistakes of the 50's and 60's and the proximity to the economically depressed hill district will just inflame criminal activity and send it for another 50 year downward spiral but this time with heavy duty drug trafficking, prostition, and other organized crime easily taking root over the long term. If you take Las Vegas and Atlantic City as examples, it's taken decades and tons of cash to noticeably improve the already impoverished neighborhoods closest to the casinos. I can pretty much guarantee that we will all live to regret it if it's ever built there.

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Here is some justification from city traffic engineers on the impact of a casino in tightly packed Station Square, very very interesting reading on the infrastructure costs that are entailed when planning a massive tourist-attracting develop like a casino.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/06103/681904-100.stm

Reading between the lines, the suggestion here is that as far as traffic planners are concerned, attracting less visitors is a selling point for the lower hill plan. The Post Gazette officially came out as backers of the lower hill, so it's no suprise to see a steady stream of these kinds of articles coming from them now. It really doesn't say anything about infastructure costs of one versus the other, it just hints that you *could* feasibly add more lanes of traffic in the lower hill. The thing to note is I think Station Square would generate more revenue than the lower hill plan with or without any added infastructure. Another thing to note is that the Station Square proposal is more optimistic in its reliance on mass transit, for example they said they will offer incentives for their workers to come in on mass transit. Our government doesn't believe in the concept of mass transit, as we all know, so mass transit can never be a part of the "solution" can it? Are these the same un-attributed traffic engineers working for the PTA who are trying to sell us the Mon-Faye? They seem to think a 10 minute walk up and down a hillside to get to the T is exactly the same as it being rigth there. In this article there is also no rebuttal from Forrest City and no real comparison to the lower hill.

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Trust me when I say this, but besides weird delegations of 100-strong Russian Penguins fans, the lower hill completely lacks the tourist drawing power of Station Square.

:lol::lol:

I will give you Station Square folks one nod, you're far more entertaining in your assesment then us uptowners.

Very good points brought up Blue, nothing to detract from them, I think those are very well founded, just that I needed a good laugh to take me into the weekend, that was pretty good. Just think though Russians need to lose money at 2am while starring at Polish surnamed showgirls too :thumbsup: .

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The North Shore proposal has just gone from hopeless underdog to real contender, in my opinion...

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/06108/682963-336.stm

Barden is proposing $7.5 million a year for 30 years to build a new arena, AND proposes to develop the lower Hill.

Now if Harrah's would promise the same... We'd be all set no matter who is chosen :)

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Nearly twice as much annual tax revenue (13 million) as the nearest competing proposal, better paying union jobs,

I thought it was pretty much settled that Forest City's revenue projections are highly dubious. They are much higher than what the state's independent auditors have claimed is realistic. They are as high (if not higher) than the projections for their much larger markets like Chicago. Didn't Harrah's get into trouble in the past for outrageous revenue projections in order to win licenses and then they couldn't deliver (was it New Orleans? I'm not sure...) . I heard on the radio that in order for Harrahs to meet its revenue projections every single resident of allegheny county over the age of 21 will have to lose over 400 dollars a year to the slots at that parlor. yeah right.

Each casino is only able to have 5,000 slots machines. Each of the 3 bidders can only have 5,000 slots machines. Does FC and Harrahs have magic slot machines? They seem like they'll say anything and strike me as slimey.

Uptown needs development terribly. I hope IOC or Don Barden win. That said, SS is already a tacky, generic mess - might as well throw a slots parlor on top and make it totally disgusting.

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Now if Harrah's would promise the same... We'd be all set no matter who is chosen :)

And according to that article, the Forrest City / Harrah's spokesperson has said that they have been waiting on an equally binding agreement from the Penguins to stay in Pittsburgh if the arena funding is pledged. The Penguins are already "on sale" and so far as anyone knows they have only pledged to stay if their casino partner, Isle of Capri, gets the license. The impropriety of that is obvious. It makes me quite mad because as I have said from the beginning, building a casino should have nothing to do with arena funds. Normally under state law it's actually illegal to make those kinds of offers. And now we're given a very clear example of why. For all anyone knows, the Penguins could have been markedly threatening to leave just to push their own casino partners into the forefront. Meanwhile both of the other bidders had very legitimate concerns about promising that same kind funding. This was just very stupid on the part of our politicians to allow to play out the way it did, especially in the local media. Now the North Shore bid has felt it necessary to get Jerome Bettis as a celebrity endorser, which is a shame that this is necessary. What's next, free lap dances at Club Erotica?

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I thought it was pretty much settled that Forest City's revenue projections are highly dubious.

This was never settled. It has only been claimed by a few individuals who themselves thought it was settled, but not to my knowledge in any other respect. People have claimed that the methology used by Harrah's is likely to be too optimistic, but nobody has ever said it was any different from the methology used by the other bidders. There was no comparison put forth by the critics, which is either bad journalism, or bad research, or plain old bias. So without demonstratable evidence that their bid here is more overvalued than the other parties' bids and that the bid that they won wherever in the past hasn't been won against equally overvalued bids, there is nothing to really talk about here.

I heard on the radio that in order for Harrahs to meet its revenue projections every single resident of allegheny county over the age of 21 will have to lose over 400 dollars a year to the slots at that parlor. yeah right.
I believe with 100% certainty that this was something that WOULD be said on the radio. This kind of statement is what's typically known as "lying with statistics." Harrah's revenue projections aren't more than twice of the other bidders'. So taken out of context, $400 a year from every resident in Allegheny County seems like an astounding absurdity, but when you compare tha to $200+ required by the other projections, it loses much of it's initial impact. This is like saying that each casino in Las Vegas requires $$$$$$ a year from each resident in the county to meet its revenue projections and drive the local economy. The whole entire premise of gambling revenue as an alternative to taxes is that it's a tourism-based industry. And in that case, you have a more realistic claim of requiring $200 and a trip to the hill from every resident in Allegheny County than to apply this logic to Station Square which gets the most tourist visits in Western PA.

Again, a reason why arena funding should have nothing to do with casino bids. While it might play out really well in the local media to stuff a local sports package into a casino deal and dump it in a really crappy dilapidated neighborhood, NOBODY else in the world who comes to Pittsburgh sees that as a great attraction. I have been to probably over 100 cities around the country and around the world, if not more, I lost count a long time ago (I've *lived* in 12 cities, been to 13 countries). So if I may speak as a seasoned tourist: trust me on that. I have seen plenty of cities with these sort of third-rate casinos that it would never even occur to you that this city even has a casino, and I have gone in and the only thing you see is a bunch of zombied local seniors being milked for all they're worth. This is not what I want for Pittsburgh. We're either in the business of attracting as much tourists as possible to the city or we shouldn't even be talking about building casinos. So unless someone makes a convincing case that the hill is the best tourist destination for a casino, I'm left unconvinced.

Each casino is only able to have 5,000 slots machines. Each of the 3 bidders can only have 5,000 slots machines. Does FC and Harrahs have magic slot machines?

I already shot down this argument before but it's another one that shows up often in the media wars. These casinos operate on a 24-hour basis and they offer wildly differing ammeneties to attract customers for that whole length of time. In that case, 14% utilization of the machines means twice the revenue as 7% utlization but neither one of them is necessarily unrealistic. So to the great extent with which the absolute number of slots argument is used to bolster the overall argument that Harrah's figures are unrealistic, it really speaks more of how dubious the criticism is than actually say anything about any of the bidders. Except when this is what the other bidders feed to reporters who then go out and repeat it.

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Yeah, I am pretty mad at the Pens too. I can understand their frustration after years of the state and city coming up with zilch for them. But to behave as they are is rather obnoxious. They are limiting themselves.

By the way, I think Bettis' involvement might be because Barden is from Detroit and so is he.

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I find it ironic that Harrah's is being defended as some weak little vendor who hasn't participated in these antics almost from day one.

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I have been to probably over 100 cities around the country and around the world, if not more, I lost count a long time ago (I've *lived* in 12 cities, been to 13 countries). So if I may speak as a seasoned tourist: trust me on that. I have seen plenty of cities with these sort of third-rate casinos that it would never even occur to you that this city even has a casino, and I have gone in and the only thing you see is a bunch of zombied local seniors being milked for all they're worth.

Well, I can probably match you on the 100 cities but I've only been to 10 countries so you win.

I trust your seasoned tourist status but I have seen my share of casinos as well, everything from Vegas, to Tahoe to Reno to every sh*thole Indian casino in the back deserts of New Mexico. Slots casinos are the bottom of the gambling barrel. This slots casino is going to be a pathetic, depressing receptical for our massive senior population to drain their social security checks no matter where is it located.

Station Square is a couple restaurants and stores. That's it - there is nothing special there. Throw a couple restaurants and stores in Uptown around the casino and the arena and they're even except Uptown will also have an arena for sporting events and concerts. Station Square will have nothing more to offer than Uptown would have after development.

If you think the criticisms of Harrah's propensity to overinflate revenue projections are incorrect then how do you explain what happened to their casino in New Orleans? You may dismissive of "pie-in-the-sky" revenue projections but I find them shady. Especially when the state's independant auditors say that they are unrealistic. Whatever - I guess only time will tell.

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I'm almost sorry now that Betters dropped out of the race, his Hays development overlooking downtown, Mt. Washington and Oakland should still be going forward, but I think that might have had the best potential and expansion, plus he wanted to put in a harness track.

As far as the Harrah's thing is concerned, IOC and Harrahs are both into this to make $ and come out with as many subsidies as possible, both are going to screw the metro over if it has to come to that, I would just hope that the city uses them as much as they will use us (you can tell I have gotten coursened to this debate already) and places them north of the MellonArena area to help out the hill. Station Square has some great potential but the traffic and expansion nightmares will haunt this city for decades. That's my take on it at least.

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I find it ironic that Harrah's is being defended as some weak little vendor who hasn't participated in these antics almost from day one.

I can't defend Harrah's with what I don't know about them, but I can dissect a known argument that pretty much just dosen't add up. I like the Station Square bid the best because IMHO it's the best possible location and I slightly favor Harrah's just because they're willing to sink in the most money. I think both things are the aces in their pocket, as far as the antics go. Now if this was really an up-and-up bidding process, the site owners, developers, and casinos would all have to make seperate competing bids for their part of the bargain and the city would choose from the 3 very best ones. This is how some major projects in other places are done. Instead, here we have everyone rushing to make these strategic alliances that could detract from the best possible outcome. But I'm not complaining about it. I just want to see it where I think it would do the most good from an economic standpoint.

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