Originally Posted by michst
I can think of a few:
1. The economy tanked so not a lot of developers were interested
2. Unlike the levee the banks couldn't be built just on fill. A large underground parking structure (when completed one of the largest in the country) had to be built in the floodplain
3. The deal with the bengals. They used up a lot of money for the infrastructure but also has a clause that 5000 parking spots must be available west of suspension bridge. So you couldn't just rush in and build over the surface parkin.
4. Not as much money coming in for sales tax
5. It truly is a much more expansive project then the levee or a strip mall. Big projects like these take time.
Two stadiums, a coliseum, a world class museum, huge intercity park, many restaurants, and downtown residents in an area of town sure beats anything else in the tristate. And considering just 13 or so years ago it was mostly just warehouses and a highway ramps its remarkable we have what we do.
I guess I'd buy argument #1 if Newport on the Levee and Easton Town Center in Columbus hadn't both been completed while the Banks languished in development hell.
Argument #2 is great, but it still doesn't explain why the Banks took so long to break ground. The project started planning in 1996 and didn't break ground until 2007. I agree that the task of building something in a flood plain and so close to the river is a daunting task, but it's a task that could've been started years ago.
Argument #3 speaks to my previous point about gross incompetence from elected officials. The lease with Bengals was bad business from top to bottom.
Argument #4 would make sense if it wasn't for the fact that the project was concieved during one of the biggest economic upswings in US history.
And, honestly, I don't buy Argument #5 at all. It really *isn't* all that amazing of a project. They built two sports facilities -- which has been done in any number of places over the last 20 years including places like Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Cleveland, Seattle, Philadelphia, and Washington. The museum they constructed is low-foot traffic and doesn't fit much with the "entertainment destination" vibe the rest of the Banks is going for.
And, on the retail/dining aspect, the project is woefully underwhelming. What we have, after years of planning, starts, and stops is basically a few bars, a couple places to eat, and some overpriced apartments. There is nothing by way of retail or things that would be a draw on weeknights when the Reds aren't playing. The museum isn't the type of thing that gets parents to load up the car for a fun day/night out like a COSI-type museum would have been.There's no movie theater / playhouse / concert hall / comedy club / etc. type of entertainment venue, there's no shopping -- hell, there isn't even a place to grab coffee and hang out if you don't want to get drunk on a work night. That's a massive failure of design, IMO -- and it'll be seen as such when the place is a ghost time during the winter and when the Reds are road-tripping.
When the Banks was planned, it was envisioned as something that could redefine downtown and provide people a reason to come back. As it stands, the Banks is really just a spot to watch a game and things to do right before or right after. That'll be fun this year, but it's sad considering what a missed opportunity it was.