Another Public/Private Partnership Where The “Public” Is The Mark

The City of St. Louis shows its consistency in bad judgment when joining with developers to revitalize downtown:

Just three months ago, Pinnacle Entertainment and the city of St. Louis were standing side by side to save the President Casino.

Now they are racing to the courthouse steps, brandishing lawsuits against each other.

City Hall and the Las Vegas-based gambling operator each sued the other Tuesday as a dispute about their contract for Lumière Place casino boiled over. At stake is the city’s shot at Missouri’s precious 13th casino license and $50 million in new housing and retail that Pinnacle had promised to build downtown.

The suits focus on a 2004 redevelopment agreement that paved the way for the half-billion dollar Lumière Place.

In it, the city agreed to oppose any new casino development within 25 miles — aside from Pinnacle’s new River City Casino in south St. Louis County, which was then on the drawing board. Pinnacle agreed not only to build the glitzy Lumière complex north of Laclede’s Landing but also to put $50 million worth of residential or retail development nearby.

Yes, indeed. The corporation got what it wanted and stalls on providing what the city wanted. Maybe they should call this development Casino Village to make the parallels clear.

Do you think this latest lesson will teach the city not to take on loans to renovate private property or to cosign loans for mall development where the developer can just walk away or to give great tax breaks and whatnot to developers who want to build something profitable but promise to build something unprofitable and unsupportable afterwards?

Hardly. A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, such as those who run the city of St. Louis.

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