If You Build It, and They Don’t Come, Then What?

David Nicklaus, my favorite St. Louis Post-Dispatch columnist, had a two part series this week about the problems that the Renaissance Hotel in downtown St. Louis faces as its presence and that of the relatively new, absolutely expensive convention center hasn’t led to its financial success (Part I, Renaissance hotel troubles reflects woes facing local convention business and Part II, More space isn’t the solution for Renaissance).

I don’t understand the current municipal government drive to turn empty space into empty buildings (or used space, through the magic of eminent domain and sweetheart deals and tax incentives for private “tick on a tax payer” businesses). Aren’t there enough examples of these sorts of failed projects or empty shopping centers to perhaps make our great white fathers (of whatever color) abandon the principals of private property and free market a little less gleefully?

Nah, I doubt it.