Tampa delegation gets military briefing

Steve Stanford, PLANTZ

This morning Greg Celestan and Chase Stockton led a discussion on military issues with information on the economic impact of MacDill Air Force Base on the Tampa community and the Chamber’s military affairs committee.  We also heard from Asunthia Chiang-Smith who is the executive director of the BRAC (base realignment and closure) Committee in Maryland.  The group is off to Fort Meade and then bound for Tampa.

PNC Sponsors WOW Dinner at National Aquarium

Steve Stanford, PLANTZ

Last evening we were treated to a great dinner at the National Aquarium. PNC Bank was a gracious sponsor and in a very short time has embedded itself in the Tampa community. The bank is led locally by Joe Meterchick. We heard from Jacques Cousteau’s grandson Fabien on the status of the world’s oceans. PNC recently unveiled this beautiful living wall in downtown Baltimore – call me at PLANTZ if you want one in Tampa.

Presentations from Tampa & Baltimore Downtown Partnerships

Interesting differences and similarities with Baltimore. Presentations from both city’s Downtown Partnerships this afternoon. Waterfront cities with sports franchises and transportation challenges. We didn’t have to worry about the British bombing our water-front 200 years ago (they’re celebrating the bicentennial of the ‘Star Spangled Banner’ and the War of 1812).


Light rail in Baltimore

Steve Stanford, PLANTZ

I rode the light rail from the airport to the convention center. It was clean, effective, and got me here safely.The most interesting thing…I bought a ticket but they never took it. I asked a fellow rider and he told me that it’s sort of ‘honor’ system and they only occasionally checked riders for tickets. At the convention center now…more to come.

Delegation gets brief on RNC’s impact in Philly

David Cohen addresses Tampa delegation

Benchmarking this morning…

Got briefed by David Cohen, the chair of the 2000 host committee that got the RNC to Phily.

Takeaways for Tampa:

    1. Make it an effort to have a long-lasting impact on tourism/hospitality – not just a one-time show.
    2. Create separate/dedicated transportation system for delegates – make them feel very special and make it so they can go wherever they want to go around the area – free of charge.
    3. Create promotional program for area restaurants.  This was the most disappointed group in Philly – they had high expectations for business, but it didn’t come through because delegates were at the convention from 6 – 10:00 each night.  Definitely make public pitch to get locals out in restaurants.
    4. Like baseball’s Fanfest and basketball’s Jamfest, create Politiicalfest – a multimedia celebration of American politics.  Make a replica of oval office.  Create a mock up of the convention stage and allow people to give speeches – with balloon drops and all.  Sell DVD’s of their speech.  Have political memorabilia vendors come in.
    5. Do video feeds from convention – put up big screens strong city where public can watch.  Engage the public – make it free and get local politicians (from both parties) to attend these events and mingle.  .
      Do a Host committee reception every night.  Non-partisan reception – thanks to biz community.
    6. The convention paid off in Phily – they’re consistently up on hotel nights compared to pre-convention and established the city as a player in major hospitality events.

Off to the airport…more later.


Tuesday Benchmarking – Politics and Stadiums

On benchmarking trip today…

Got Philly briefing from Mayor Nutter – Penn grad – very impressed with his grasp of city ops. Says he treats it like a business – he’s the CEO and the taxpayers are investors.

Dr Genshaft announced a multi-million dollar grant from BP to USF to further study effects of oil spill – Go Bulls!

Presentation on the inner-workings of Philly’s stadium deals by Tom Whitworth, of NorthMarq Financial and Sam Rhoades, Sr VP of Finance, PIDC (economic development arm) – very insightful. Tom has worked on several stadium deals, including the Marlins park in Miami; Sam is on economic development side from Philly’s perspective. They have the only sports complex in the country where professional football, baseball, basketball, and hockey are played. The combined parks – Lincoln Financial Field, Citizens Park, and the Wells Fargo Spectrum – have a combined 108,000 seats and parking for 22,000 cars.

Take-aways for Tampa –

  1. Make it about community impact….not about the stadium. Focus on how the project will impact the surrounding community both economically, and from a ‘quality of life’ perspective.
  2. Structure deal so the community shares in upside of increase value of franchise – get a piece of the action if team owners cash out after public money helped increase the value of the team.
  3. The stadium is storm shelter – example from Miami’s new park, which has retractable roof system.
  4. Make teams responsible for cost overruns – set up deal with capped commitment from public sector.
  5. Issue bonds on incremental new income – this could be done if there’s substantial upside in new revenue from a new stadium.

Off to the Liberty Bell and Constitution Hall!


Chamber Delegation Visits Reading Terminal Market

Nice day yesterday in Phily after Irene cleared out. Started with a trip to their market. Chuck Sykes, Troy Atlas, and Steven Bernstein tested the Phily Cheese Steak.