Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Not the point

Today the QCTimes has an article about how we're going to spend $100,000+ on consultants for the Blackhawk hotel's future use.

The way the article puts it, much of the outrage over this has to do with the fact that we don't currently own the building. This seems silly to me, as we've signed an agreement with Isle of Capri that gives Davenport the option to buy the building for, I believe, $1. The building's not ours, but it will be.

What people SHOULD be complaining about is the high price for these consultants. $112,000 is 2240 hours of $50 an hour pay. That's 56 weeks of full time, 40 hour a week, $50 an hour work to figure out what we should do with the Blackhawk. Ten grand I can see, just to have a hotel expert fish around and see who's willing to give us the best deal on buying and fixing up the building. That's still a lot of money. But $112,000?

Let me save them the trouble. Here's what to do with the Blackhawk:
Make an agreement with a private hotel company to sell it to them for $2 (double our money!) if they agree to do X amount of renovations and keep it open for a minimum of X years. Make sure it'll be on par or at least close to as good as the Radisson, so we can get bigger conventions downtown. When we have more conventions, people can stop complaining about the RiverCenter. If a company was willing to pay us money for the Mississippi Hotel building, someone will take that deal for the Blackhawk.

Common sense. I'll give them a discount, since I don't have a degree in Hotel-ology, and only charge them $20,000 for my recommendation. It will be interesting to see how similar it is to the $112,000 one.


Anonymous said...

And I'm sure these consultants are from out of town. The use of these out of town consultants is really insulting to the people of Davenport who could do the job just as well. People say the city has an image problem, maybe we could start with the city putting some faith in their own citizens.

Anonymous said...

Someone will correct me if I'm wrong.

You're right about the $1 option but it's only available if the IOC gets to move it's boat and build it's hotel. As noted in today's Times, the federal approval process has just begun. It may or may not end successfully for the IOC. Which means we may or may not have a $1 option. Which means this consultant study may or may not be a total waste of time and money.

Anonymous said...

That is a really good point. Why are we spending so much on a "what if"?

Anonymous said...

Why? Because we have momentum.

QuadCityImages said...

I think it makes sense to have a plan in place for the Blackhawk BEFORE we get it, so we don't sit around for months studying the issue with a vacant hotel not being worked on. I'd also say its more of an "almost certainly" than a "what if."

I just think 100 grand is crazy.

Anonymous said...

Probably breaks down something like this:
4 people
20 hours/week
7 weeks
$200 per hour
= $112,000

Wasn't even trying hard.

Anonymous said...

I disagree with QCI on this. It is not a "for gone conclusion" the IOC gets every thing they want by any stretch. We are fools to spend this money right now. It looks as it is a win, win for the IOC. (AGAIN) if not granted permission to move & build. They can then turn around and do to the Blackhawk what they wish. A big thanks again from the tax payers of Davenport for giving us knowledge from the "consultants" on what to do with OUR bldg.

Besides, If permission is granted to the IOC to move & build...they still will have to sell BH to us for a 1$...still need to move & BUILD...it won't happen over night. Hire who ever at that time...LOCALLY!!!!!

QuadCityImages said...

Ah yes, I did forget about the time (like a year) between the project getting a final go-ahead and the time that the new hotel is ready.

That does seem like a better time to spend this money, or better yet, less money. Good point.

0Ohm said...

Here is my opinion, take it for what it's worth. The Blackhawk needs to be torn down. I know someone associated with that hotel and it is a true hazard as it stands. Rumor has it that Goldstein wanted to remodel it to the tune of a little over 30 million, but he was the only IOC person to want that. (After all, he did get married there, sentiment before judgement doesn't bother me that much.) But speaking of sentiment, there is always a small portion of the population concerned with historical value, but tend not to actually invest in properties that need that much work. So here it is... To make the historical people happy, extend an RFP (request for proposal) that includes giving the building away to anyone that wants to remodel it into a convention quality facility. If, after 6 months, nobody bites at the RFP, tear down the building and put out another one. The second RFP will be to give the land to any developer that will place a hotel there of convention quality. This gives the historical folks a chance to maintain the history of the building (who knows, Bernie certainly has enough dough to do it himself). After that, it gives us what we need to make the River Center a useful and potentially profitable entity. Let corporate America come in and build what we need to make the River Center work, let's stay out of the hotel business.
There, now where's my $112K?

Anonymous said...

112k gets you the opinion you paid for, thats for sure. Staff wants an outcome, and for 112k, it is bought and paid for.

You want to know what to do? I will tell you for free. Turn it into a jail, and save the taxpayers millions. No parking? No problem. Prisoners don't tend to need cars.

Anonymous said...

I think the point is that the Hotel should have been upgraged or town down BEFORE the River Center was completed. If that had happened we wouldn't have to subsidize the RC and Adler as they would have profited from the new state of the art hotel from the begining.

nailer101 said...

Didn't we the taxpayers pay to remodel the Blackhawk before the President Riverboat Casino took it over? In the short time that it was used by them, what could possibly be wrong with the way it is now? There are shop spaces available, a bar/restaurant space available, meeting rooms and ballrooms, and of course plenty of sleeping rooms. Why are we now going to spend more money on a white elephant?

Eric Swanson said...

Why don't we try the unthinkable. Open the doors and allow visitors to use the place again? It's still a good building that's already in a usable state. I think the real purpose of all this is to ensure that the hotel that the boat wants ends up on the riverfront to be another eyesore when looking at the river from the skybridge to nowhere.

nailer101 said...

Even better Idea. Why don't we get the IOC to float their boat in the moat with Jumer's. They can share that pond, then we can get this abomination to our city out of here.

East Ender said...

The Blackhawk was completely redone approximately 25 to 30 years ago, I believe it was shortly before the Rivercenter was built and before the Adler was redone. If memory serves me right the work was done by a partnership headed up by Ray Phillips and the partners included the heavy hitters of Davenport such as Lee Enterprises, I-I Gas and Electric and Davenport Bank.

At that time they completely gutted the upper floors and basically started from scratch in rebuilding the rooms. So whoever takes over the Blackhawk isn't exactly starting with an ancient building that hasn't had any updating, although 25 years can hardly be considered recent remodeling. It's a grand old building that is certainly worth saving, it would be a shame to see another of Davenport's landmarks fall to the wrecking ball.