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Who Dey Perspective: Cost of PBS

Posted Mar 11, 2011

We’ve gone over it repeatedly. For more than 15 years.

What did Paul Brown Stadium cost to build?

Construction costs haven’t been in the news lately, but The Enquirer has consistently described costs as being in the $400-450 million range. Others have even tried to suggest that the cost was over $1 billion.

The facts are closer to $330 million.

Fifteen years ago, the Bengals urged Hamilton County to build a new stadium on publicly owned land next to the Roebling Suspension Bridge. That was easiest, quickest, and avoided extra costs being added to the project. The architects had even begun drawings for the stadium on that site … but then Hamilton County and the City of Cincinnati decided to move the stadium west onto privately owned land.

It’s not that the City and County didn’t have a good reason to move the stadium. The thought at the time was that the stadiums would serve as “bookends” and allow for other development to occur in the area that has come to be known as “The Banks.”

That decision, however, caused delays – anyone remember fights over land? – and added $100 million in extra costs for land, new roads, and infrastructure. Some will argue that this was a wise investment, others will argue the politicians got carried away with too grandiose an idea. We are not here to argue one way or the other.

What we do have a problem with is that some folks try and foist those costs onto Paul Brown Stadium. The facts are that actual construction costs were more in the $330 million range. Take away the $50 million provided by the Bengals and $40 million provided by the State of Ohio, and you end up with around $250 million covered by local taxpayers.

All of this is a lot of money, but it’s a manageable amount given a sales tax that generates more than $60 million per year, and the true construction costs are in-line with what other communities spent – cities like Cleveland, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Indianapolis, Nashville, Jacksonville, Seattle, Tampa and Denver. It’s also reasonable when you consider that the “private stadium” in Dallas included $340 million of public funds.

The Bengals love being in downtown Cincinnati, and if the City and County wanted to spend $100 million to free-up extra land for other urban development, that is fine by us. But the decision was not ours, so all we ask is that you let the facts speak for themselves … and that’s our “extra point.”


Jack Brennan has been Bengals public relations director since 1994. He has been a Cincinnati resident since 1983, when he began a 10-year Queen City stint as a sports writer, first with the Cincinnati Post and later with the Enquirer.

(*Note: To see archived versions of The Who Dey Perspective, click here.)

 

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