Public Financing of Entertainment Venue Costs Taxpayers Millions

February 14, 2013 9:16 am

by Mike Hassinger · 6 comments

No, not the Dome. Underground Atlanta. According to WSB-TV, the City of Atlanta is picking up $8 million in debt service on Underground Atlanta, while collecting a mere $100,000 in rent. This arrangement is scheduled to continue through 2086.

Gee, if only there were some kind of State entity with the resources, management skills and a proven record that could take over operations at Underground and lessen the tax burden on Atlanta taxpayers.

One of the more thoughtless criticisms of the New Stadium proposal is that the current Georgia Dome is empty most of the year. So what? Underground is empty every night except New Years’ Eve. (Unless you count muggers and panhandlers.) And the Dome either breaks even or makes a million or so every year.

So those of you who continue to protest using “public” money for a new “private” stadium should take a good look at Underground Atlanta. Because that’s what the Georgia Dome will become without a professional football team to anchor it.

seenbetrdayz February 14, 2013 at 10:12 am

Wow, 2086?!!

It will literally be ‘underground’ atlanta by then, because our great-great-grandchildren will be excavating the site.

Daddy Got A Gun February 14, 2013 at 11:18 am

You wrote this as if this was a failure. Its not. Its a government success story and very typical of everything government does.

Let’s review the how this is successful

1) Taxpayers are on the hook for over $600M (75 times $8M/yr)

2) Political insiders are enriched

3) The Crony Capitalists are enriched

4) Nobody goes there because they don’t want to be robbed, harassed by urban campers, and ripped off.

SUCCESS!

Let’s replace a paid-for stadium with a success like Underground.

Baker February 15, 2013 at 1:04 am

As someone who has vehemently argued against a new Falcons stadium, I’m no fan of this either. I certainly don’t care that the Dome is empty most of the year. I think it’s a great home for the Falcons. The Underground situation is awful. I can’t believe Kasim Reed can’t conceive/ even address a way out of it.

I don’t know enough about the history/ legality of the Underground contracts to really talk about it. Why not let the GWCCA take it over? Why not buy out the current tenants and sell to a developer with restrictions for historical preservation?

I walk through Underground on a not so irregular basis going to the Gold Dome or the Freight Depot or Braves games. It’s a nice spot if people didn’t get mugged/ shot after 10 p.m. Would a private developer be able to hire the security necessary to make it viable?

Other questions abound I’m sure, but that’s enough for now.

The Last Democrat in Georgia February 15, 2013 at 6:47 am

“So those of you who continue to protest using “public” money for a new “private” stadium should take a good look at Underground Atlanta. Because that’s what the Georgia Dome will become without a professional football team to anchor it.”

…Excellent point.

charliemann February 19, 2013 at 9:47 am

I remember going to Underground Atlanta on my first visit to this storied southern city in 1981. I had heard about this interesting attraction but was very disappointed to find that only Dante’s Down the Hatch and the set of Sharkey’s Machine starring Burt Reynolds were the only lighted areas of an otherwise dark and forb0ding place. Fast forward 30 years and millions of taxpayer dollars later, the promises of revitalization have all but not been kept. If it weren’t for the successes of the French Quarter and Time Square, I’d say that maintaining a secure, unique place where visitors can come and enjoy their stay in an otherwise crime ridden area is impossible. What a shame.

saltycracker February 19, 2013 at 10:42 am

Didn’t Lewis Grizzard warn us of this prior to the resurrection ?

Underground Atlanta today:
Trip Advisor ratings (2*)
Excellent 8
Very good 34
Average 67
Poor 86
Terrible 119

Comments on this entry are closed.