UPDATE: Star political columnist Matt Tully became sexually excited at the unveiling of the latest taxpayer-subsidized project.
For the sake of drama Tuesday morning, Mayor Greg Ballard and a few other key players in the Market Square redevelopment effort pulled down a large black drape and exposed the rendering of a 28-story glass tower that will finally bring the MSA site back to life.
As is customary, several “oohs” came from the gathered crowd of dignitaries, who stood in the blistering sun to learn what would replace the former basketball arena and concert hall. Twelve years have passed since the arena came crashing down in a spectacular implosion, and many proposals and suggestions have emerged since then without one pound of concrete being poured.
Now, though, it looks certain that the northern part of the arena site will give way to one of the biggest development projects Downtown has seen in decades — a rounded tower fit for 300 high-end apartments adjoining a first-floor retail space. What is now a depressing parking lot will give way to hundreds of residents paying millions of dollars in taxes and adding to the residential density that has boosted Downtown in recent years . . .
I know, I know, it’s just a building. And, yes, the city is investing in the project, a fact that will annoy some. But given the challenges facing American cities in 2013, given the competition from the suburbs and the long economic downturn that has made it so hard to push big projects forward, it was remarkable to see a few dozen people sweating in the morning sun and learning about the new high rise, one roughly the height of the City-County Building, that is on the way.What a poor excuse for a political columnist. As George Orwell once said, "Journalism is reporting what someone else does not want printed: everything else is public relations."