And the Job Guesstimates Resume: RCGA Now Says Aerotropolis Will Bring 32,000 Jobs to Saint Louis
Let me take you back in time for just a moment.
On October 27, 2006, the RCGA released a study by Bryan Bezold, the organization’s then-chief economist, telling Saint Louisans that (emphasis mine):
Phase I of the Ballpark Village project will provide an annual $273 million economic benefit to the St. Louis region when completed; in the interim, construction of the initial phase of the project will generate an economic impact of $724 million. Further, the first phase of the development will have a total employment impact of 3,040 permanent jobs, and there will be another 3,000 construction jobs throughout the course of the total development. Estimated net fiscal benefit to the City of St. Louis is $291 million, with $142 million to the St. Louis Public Schools.”
On July 28, 2008, new RCGA chief economist Ruth Sergenian found that (emphasis mine):
Upon completion of Phase 1 construction and full leasing of the space, the St. Louis region will realize an additional annual economic benefit of approximately $476 million.
Regarding jobs, the construction process of Phase 1 is estimated to employ some 2,900 area workers, and those jobs will indirectly support approximately 2,300 other jobs throughout the region. The RCGA also projects that the project when fully leased will employ more than 2,000 people on an ongoing basis.
And Ballpark Village today? It’s a softball field and a parking lot.
So, let’s recap the RCGA job scenarios with Aerotropolis/China Hub to date.
- The RCGA originally predicted that Aerotropolis would bring 37,000 jobs to Saint Louis. About that time, the Northwest Chamber predicted the project would bring 5,000 jobs to Saint Louis. Big difference.
- Later, the RCGA quietly released a revision in June that 29,000 jobs would be brought to the region.
- Now, last night per Dick Fleming, the RCGA’s latest prediction is that at least 32,000 jobs will now be brought to Saint Louis through Aerotropolis, an increase since the last assessment.
And these predictions are all based on…? (And by the way, what happened between June and now that goosed the employment numbers by 3000+ jobs?)
Can someone from the RCGA please tell us where their numbers are coming from, other than from the ether? Better yet, can it please explain why taxpayers should believe any of these predictions given its track record?