Heywood T. Sanders Discusses His Book Convention Center Follies: Politics, Power, and Public Investment in American Cities

On the heels of the announcement of a new 800-room Hyatt hotel that officials hope will boost Kansas City’s convention prospects, Heywood T. Sanders discusses his book on how a nationwide surge in convention- related development has delivered only limited returns.
Wednesday, July 22, 2015
Program: 
6:30 pm
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Can a recently announced, 800-room Hyatt hotel, scheduled to open in 2018, boost Kansas City’s convention prospects when it opens? The city has invested heavily in its downtown convention center – from Bartle Hall’s $144 million expansion in the 1990s to a $150 million upgrade completed in 2007 – and yet business has lagged.

Heywood T. Sanders, one of the country’s foremost experts on urban development, notes that KC is not alone. In a discussion of his book, Convention Center Follies: Politics, Power, and Public Investment in American Cities, he notes a nationwide surge in convention center development in the past two decades amid promises of new jobs, private development, and tax revenues. In Boston, Orlando, and elsewhere, the returns have similarly been limited. So why does the building continue?

Sanders is a professor of public administration at the University of Texas at San Antonio.

Mon, 07/13/2015
Courtney Lewis,816.701.3669
Heywood T. Sanders Discusses His Book <em>Convention Center Follies:</em><br><em>Politics, Power, and Public Investment in American Cities</em>

(Kansas City, Missouri) - There are new developments weekly surrounding the city's proposed 800-room Hyatt hotel, scheduled to open in 2018. Some of the most recent involve a rising price tag to nearly $311 million, and concerns the project could actually result in net costs for public service entities or jurisdictions that collect property taxes , including the Kansas City Public Library, Kansas City Public Schools, Metropolitan Community College, and Jackson County Mental Health Fund.

But supporters say the hotel will provide a much-needed financial infusion and boost Kansas City's convention prospects. The city has invested heavily in its downtown convention center - from Bartle Hall's $144 million expansion in the 1990s to a $150 million upgrade completed in 2007 - and yet business has lagged.

Heywood T. Sanders, one of the country's foremost experts on urban development, notes that KC is not alone. He discusses his book, Convention Center Follies: Politics, Power, and Public Investment in American Cities, on Wednesday, July 22, 2015, at 6:30 p.m. at the Central Library, 14 W. 10th St.

Sanders, a professor of public administration at the University of Texas at San Antonio, does not believe that convention centers are always the saviors of cities that many leaders hope. He contends cities nationwide did not anticipate the impact of industry consolidation and slower economic growth on the demand for meeting space, leaving them with lofty expectations and less than optimal outcomes. Sanders worries Kansas City may be next on that list.

Admission is free. RSVP at kclibrary.org or call 816.701.3407. Free parking is available in the Library District parking garage at 10th & Baltimore.

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