So much for the malarkey that a new ballpark can never provide a financial return to a public investment: San Diego’s $301 million investment in Petco Park will net the city $355 million in new tax revenue — a ROI of 7.6 percent. Critics, of course, scoff at the numbers, saying downtown San Diego would have magically revitalized without the public spending.
The study, from CSL International, tallied up the new tax revenue from sales taxes and other tax streams in the area around downtown’s Petco Park. Now, there was a certain level of public investment in downtown already in the form of a new convention center, but it’s pretty clear a lot of the commercial and hotel development would not have taken place without the new ballpark. Last year alone CSL estimates $17 million in property taxes, $7.7 million in hotel occupancy taxes and $2 million in sales taxes came directly as a result of the new ballpark and associated development.
Of course, the critics claims that downtown San Diego would have magically risen from the ashes on its own. Perhaps, but not likely: smaller cities have the hardest time attracting development investments. We can’t see an alternate reality to know if downtown San Diego would be doing well on its own without the new ballpark — but we do know it is doing well with the ballpark.
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