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Convention Center's Fortunes Determined by a Few Tools

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This morning, Axis Philly ran an article listing all the tools you can't use at the convention center, unless you're a union laborer. The list isn't too long, but it's frustrating, and demonstrates just how limiting the Customer Service Agreement is for PA Convention Center exhibitors. Meanwhile, across the street from the foundering megacenter, a taxpayer financed hotel just opened, and it's not pretty.

A small exhibitor might be capable of setting up their own display at the PA Convention Center, but it's against the rules. Included in the list of tools they can't use is a power drill, a ladder, and their own computer cord (they need to have a union electrician plug their computer in.) And if they want to unpack a box, or move a table, they also need a union laborer to do the heavy (or not-so-heavy) lifting.

Located directly across the street from the convention center, the Home2Suites hotel just opened up, not to fanfare, but to a scathing review of its design. Inga Saffron wrote that it was a "sickly yellow, synthetic-covered mid-rise", but as an article on Next City points out, the design isn't the real issue: it's the money that matters.

The Home2Suites, which was sold to the city as creating 146 permanent jobs. In exchange, the hotel received about $34.75M in public subsidies, tax credits, and loans (the total cost of the project was $60M). That's a lot of taxpayer funding for one particularly ugly hotel.

More troubling, of course, is the fact that this hotel's fortune is tied to the Convention Center's. And right now, all the tools (and computer cords) are in the hands of the unions working there.

· Ed vs. the screwdriver [Axis Philly]
· New Philly Hotel Gets Both Economic Development and Design Wrong [Next City]

Convention Center

1101 Arch St, Philadelphia, PA 19107