Nothing has been approved by the council yet, but city staff apparently has drawn up a plan to begin tearing Reunion Arena down beginning in March 2009, according to a Sunday DMN story. The teardown would take about 12 months and involve removing the structure piece by piece rather than a grand, made-for-TV implosion.
The DMN says the cost of tearing down Reunion will be about $6 million; original estimates back in June said it would cost about $5 million. And also in June, the city was telling people that it cost about $1 million per year to keep Reunion standing â” just the basic cost of mothballing the building, without holding events there or doing anything to it other than keeping it there.
As we talked about June 10 here at Back Talk, and also here and here, the question that doesn’t appear to have been asked and answered in public is this: Why would the city pay to tear the building down now when it will take about five years of mothballing to break even with the current demolition cost? Certainly, it’s possible that a buyer for the building, as-is, could materialize â” a lot can happen in five years in the real estate market. There’s doesn’t appear to have been any city effort to market Reunion as-is â” or if there has, I haven’t read or heard anything about it. So what’s the harm in taking six to 12 months to market it, as-is, before launching into tear-down mode?
Just like so many of the big-ticket items happening downtown these days, this decision seems to be moving too fast without any particular reason â” save one: The faster the council moves, the fewer questions the rest of us have time to ask about what they’re up to.