Thursday 5 November 2009

Space, Splashes and Videos

Splish Splash - Water park at the Forks?

The only developer interested in building a water park with the help of a $7-million city grant wants to use the public money to erect a $64-million luxury hotel.
According to several sources speaking under condition of anonymity, the potential water-park proposal involves the construction of a $64-million "signature hotel" that would position itself at the high end of Winnipeg's hospitality market.

The proponent would purchase the city lot on Waterfront Drive for $7.7 million, thus immediately repaying the city for its $7 million investment, the sources said.
A couple of things ..

First: This is right next to the railway tracks, where they curve around the ball park. Those trains squeal like a banshee when they go around that bend. This doesn't seem like ideal placement for a luxury hotel. Sure you close the windows and muffle the noise, but isn't part of luxury being able to have your window open?

Second: they would not be "immediately repaying the city" unless the actual value of the land is $700k, and they artificially boosted the purchase price by $7m to repay the grant.* But if that's the case, what is the purpose of the grant in the first place? That's not the case, though, because 2.4 hectares of land at the Forks adjacent to a future world class museum must be worth more than $700k. I know this because the tiny gas station lot at the corner of Broadway and Main is worth $3.35m. How did I get that, you ask? $1m cash + $1.35m "donation" for "remaining land value" + additional $1m for environmental remediation = $3.35m value for a 0.136 hectare environmentally safe parcel of land. All other things being equal, the value of the hotel property ought to be about $59m

My opinion: forget the $7mil for the water park and use it to build a kick-ass polar bear enclosure at the zoo. It is shameful that we don't have one here in the polar bear capital of the world.


Six lucky people ...

It was announced recently that the Space Hotel is on-track for 2012. Just in time ... Six lucky people (at double-occupancy) will get a rink-side seat for the end of the world (or whatever happens when the great alignment occurs).


Friday Night Videos

Back in the day, before Much Music, one had to rely on video shows on regular network TV to check out the latest Luba or Thomas Dolby video. I used to so look forward to Friday Night Videos, or Good Rockin' Tonight. It was a treat to watch videos for half an hour, but Much Music and MTV made those shows obsolete.

Nowadays, 90% of the content on MM or MTV is some kind of crappy reality TV or gossip programming and the other 10% is crappy hip hop videos and interviews. I think it may be time for Terry David Mulligan to re-grow his mullet (optional) and bring back the dedicated video show. But until then, I will endeavor to post a cool video each Friday.

Today's offering: Walking With Thee by Liverpool's Clinic. Enjoy:

* (edit) I understand that the city's bank account balance will not suffer as a result of this transaction. I guess my objection is to any private development at the forks being subsidized by the city. Especially one that will compete with other businesses. This is a key area with limited supply of land, and we need to be very careful about how the remaining space is developed. Yes, even this parking lot by the tracks. This seems like another ad hoc development, and not necessarily part of a larger vision of what the Forks should be. Also, if the museum is successful, one would expect this land to grow in value significantly, so what's the hurry?


Anonymous said...

Good observation on the land costs cheren. Lets see how the Creative Accounting department will spin this for the masses.

Wonder what deal the Inn at the Forks will be requesting.

cherenkov said...

That's a good question about Inn at the Forks. Will they be pissed about public money going towards a competing business in the area, or will the waterpark attract more people to the area, benefiting I.a.t.F.? I wonder how much they paid for their land? It's probably in the Freep archives somewhere...

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