I read about the city of Vancouver proposal to fund a grant of $400,000 to support arts funding and up to $800,000 over two years (“In Our View,” June 22, The Columbian). As a 25-year events and venues revenue consultant, I wanted to remind readers of the city’s efforts to pay for and own a hotel, the downtown Hilton, through use of what is called a public facilities district. For many years, the city covered operating deficits on this hotel.
The current proposal also calls for a Public Development Authority. This is commonly used to fund major league sports stadiums, including the two in Seattle. It allows a city or county to levy taxes and pay for public facilities by means of hotel, rental car, ticket taxes and other tax sources.
It appears that the direction the city is moving is to set up a PDA and give them authority to purchase land and build an arts center through the use of this vehicle. I look forward to the forthcoming study on the feasibility of doing this, how it would be financed and other details that need to be carefully reviewed and studied. Vancouver deserves its own performing arts center. I will be interested to see what funding options are presented.