by Tyler Cowen
on January 4, 2011 at 8:00 am
1. Photo gallery of Detroit.
2. Seattle's new parking pricing policies.
3. The economics of the Dave Matthew Band.
4. Blog of datasets for developmental economics.
5. Inspiration, from the earth.
6. Mochi (rice cake) deaths in Japan.
Detroit is sad
The Detroit Tigers moved into their new ballpark, Comerica Park, located in downtown Detroit in the beginning of the 2000 season. The park was built at a cost of $300 million, of which $115 million was public funds, paid by a two percent car rental tax add-on and a one percent hotel tax add-on, plus money from Indian casino revenue. Comerica Incorporated, a Detroit-based financial services company, agreed to pay the Tigers $66 million over a 30-year period for naming rights at the new ballpark.
The Detroit Lions play their home games in Ford Field, which opened in 2002. Built at a cost of approximately $430 million, the naming rights were purchased by Ford Corp for $40 million over 20 years. A draft beer at a Lions game costs $8.50, and stadium parking is $30.
The Detroit Pistons play their home games at The Palace of Auburn Hills. Located in the suburb of Auburn Hills, The Palace is one of the older arenas still in play in the NBA, but is considered quite successful. It has the largest seating capacity in the NBA, and it has quite a revenue stream from its luxury suites. The original number of 180 was considered exorbitant when the arena opened, but they are consistently at, or near, sell-out. Additionally, another 13 luxury suites were built below ground level, and they sell out at an annual rental of $350-450,000.
Poor Detroit! So sad!
As far as I can tell, every photo of Detroit was of a building that was abandoned at least 15 years ago. Most have been abandoned for 30+ years. Those abandoned building are old news.
"Parking is a cash cow for Seattle, bringing in $70 million this year, through lot taxes, meter income and revenue from about 500,000 citations."
They're averaging $140/citation, which suggests that raising the ticket price, not the parking rate, would have been more effective if the goal was to encourage turnover. Since the median fine owed on outstanding parking tickets is $250, something is wrong with the data, or the enforcement targetting.
Raising the lot tax (from 10% to 12.5%) will increase revenues but, at the margin, cause casual parkers to spend more time looking for street parking. (Less so, one suspects, if lots show only their net-of-tax rates, as happens in NYC.)
All in all, it's a good move for revenues, but anyone expecting it to increase turnover is likely to have a difficult time finding the data to support their argument.
Some of those Detroit pictures were disturbing: all those library books just sitting there seem like wasted value; and that police station with suspect photos lying about strikes me as "ought to be illegal."
(I don't know that they were suspect photos; I'm just hoping they are, rather than, say, victim photos.)
Detroit is an area of contrast. I have a lot of family in Oakland County, north of Detroit. The county has 1.2 million people in it and is quite uniformly prosperous.
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