By Frank Maradiaga
In the February meeting you mentioned the cost would be around 300-500 million depending how far the city wants to go: Is there a scenario where the remodeling of the convention center can just equal a superficial facelift? What’s involved in the extra 200 million?
I don’t think that’s the problem. The Convention Center needs to be upgraded to be competitive in it’s Market niche. The cost is like a house you want to remodel. You have a certain amount of income. You might want to do ten things but you can only do eight thoroughly. You have to match the cost with how much money you spend. That is the evaluation that is taking place. I don’t have an answer for that. It’s our objective to match revenue with cost.
Have you experienced any resistance because of the Jackie Gleason Theater?
Of course, it’s not the first time we’ve been to this movie. This is the way we analyze it: is it functional ? What does it contribute to the area? Is the facility historic? Is the legacy of Jackie Gleason historically significant?
Having a theater in the development is important. We should and have a theater in the development.
Is it historically significant? The answer to that is an emphatic no. The building is not in the least bit worthy of any architectural preservation. Modified a 100 times, and in the beginning it was an auditorium.
Is the Jackie Gleason legacy worthy? Yes, and we are going to preserve it in a variety of ways.
Note: since the interview the public backlash has changed the way Portman CMC will view this. Portman says they are reevaluating what to do with the theater.
“It’s a very passionate subject for a lot of people. From our perspective, we didn’t think it was worthy of the passion that has been shown. Given that it is being shown, we need to reevaluate how we look at it. From an urban planning point of view , from a convention center destination point of view. What we are proposing is the right solution. But if politically proposing what we are proposing doesn’t allow us to further participate, then we have to take a hard look at it.