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The Queen, Virginia, 3D, Highways

Updated: Nov 14, 2023

Episode 16: Patterns of Development podcast show notes


Don’t have time to read? Check out the podcast where I discuss the best of what I learned about urban planning, architecture, and real estate development, in less than 10 minutes.

Big Attractions

Image Credit: Aaron Rogers


The Queen Mary has been docked in Long Beach California for the last 50 years. Before its life dockside, it survived a world war and set the standard for trans-Atlantic luxury.

Today there’s one big problem. This ship is about to sink.

When we talk about developments and how buildings make money. The Queen is on a different level. Imagine trying to take care of a space and also keep it afloat. No wonder the current operator of the attraction is in bankruptcy proceedings.

The city wants to keep the ship but doesn’t want to pay. The community wants to keep the ship. The mayor is quoted in the LA Times saying they’d like to keep it.

But if you can’t come up with the money then you’ve got an even worse problem on your hands. It comes down to opportunity cost. With the amount of money required to save the ship, is there a better investment? If it brings in tourist dollars is there some other group that could raise the money and operates the ship? How might the profit margin get wider for whoever operates the ship?

This leads to another article I was reading about the Oakland A’s new baseball stadium.

The A’s are estimating their costs at about $12 billion and asking for in exchange, the team is asking the city for about $855 million in future tax dollars to finance infrastructures like roads, sidewalks, and transportation improvements.

Similar vibe to the Amazon HQ2 discussion. Give us the best incentives and we’ll move to your city. It’s a great dilemma.

The team, the business, the attraction, is saying we think we’ll bring this level of activity to the community. We would like this in return. Which is the fundamentals of any transaction, you do something and…




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