WE'VE MOVED! Democratic Convention Watch is now at http://www.DemocraticConventionWatch.com
I'm sorry, but you can't believe how amusing I find it that Jim Taylor, the local Denver labor leader who is holding up Denver's bid to host the 2008 Democratic Convention, is at this extremely late date trying to get Denver to switch its proposed site from the non-union Pepsi Center (but which will have union staff during the convention) to the union Colorado Convention Center: "A basketball arena already has tiered levels and suites," said Willhite. "Otherwise, it's cost prohibitive to put all the structures in."
"The big spaces there could work," said Jim Taylor of Local 7 of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees.You have to build the seating bowl, as well as the skyboxes/suites, used in a convention both for media and VIPs. They have to be totally created in a convention center. I was at the Moscone Center during construction of the seating bowl and suites - it's a lot of extra work that is just wasted money at a time when both cities are scrounging for funds. The Denver Post has more on the problems:
The last Democratic convention to be held at a convention center was in 1984 at San Francisco's Moscone Center. Debbie Willhite, director of the Denver 2008 host committee, said problems with that convention led the Democrats to insist on holding the gathering in a large arena.
Democratic National Committee bid specifications called for at least 650,000 gross square feet of space, and seating with unobstructed views for 18,000 people. The convention center's largest space, the exhibit hall, has 584,000 gross square feet. I was going to write a detailed post back in the spring about how convention centers were no longer feasible for use as sites for political conventions, but after Orlando dropped out, there didn't seem to be a need for it. In any case, Denver and the DNC need to figure out how to get this all resolved, and I think they will.
The convention center already is booked during the weeks surrounding the DNC event. To accommodate its complicated setup and tear-down, the convention center would have to displace eight groups worth a total of $150 million in business, including the Custom Electronic Design and Installation Association expo.
"A basketball arena already has tiered levels and suites," said Willhite. "Otherwise, it's cost prohibitive to put all the structures in."