Wednesday, February 04, 2009

A Tavern Hangover

Last night I was discussing my latest entry to this blog with my smarter/better half and I was scolded for not being clear enough.

So I am going to briefly attempt to clarify my thoughts. As I stated, I am not suggesting the city should take over the day to day operation at Tavern on the Green. The Tavern has successfully attracted masses from all over the world for decades and should remain so. My argument revolves around the paltry returns taxpayers receive in exchange for what is potentially the premier entertainment venue this city has to offer.

We need to recognize that there are options beyond extending the existing agreement and not enforcing its by-laws or transferring it to a different bidder under the same or slightly better conditions. Take for instance the possibility of relocating the fashion shows (currently hosted at Bryant Park and looking for a new home) to the grounds at Tavern on the Green. The fees generated by hosting these two events a year would generate in excess of the $286k the restaurant paid the City last year.

Additionally, turning the Tavern into a state of the art, quasi- banquet/conference hall owned by the city and operated by a professional event planner for a fee would most probably also generate cash flow in excess of the $1M we are paid in rent too.

Assume for a second that the countless bureaucratic entities in the City's administration were to host their events at a City owned venue rather than at the Waldorf, or the Marriot, or the Hilton. The fees from those entities alone are well over a million dollars a year!

We need to approach Tavern on the Green for what it is, a huge revenue generator that the city should be apporpiately compensated for. If the city does have a revenue sharing provision attached to the lease, then we should ensure that we are treated with the same transparency and generosity all other partners recieve, especially if the City demands the same preferrential lease rate.

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