Wednesday, December 28, 2005

What have we learned...

The end of the year invites introspection. One of those examinations is our blog and the feedback we’ve received and the related postings that have appeared on others. That said, one sentence summarizes our findings: We, Clevelanders, spend too much time talking to ourselves.

If this sentence is a brush, it paints us too. Our blog has taught us that we spend more time amongst ourselves asking for solutions to our region’s economic malaise and less time looking outward. The blog activity surrounding The Plain Dealer series on Cleveland-based Forest City Enterprise brought this issue to light.

We need to look no further than comments made by Rich Moore, a securities analyst who lives and works in Greater Cleveland, yet interacts with real estate developers and investors throughout the U.S.:

“I can't imagine that Cleveland would be a big draw for any real estate company," Moore said. "I hate to put it that way, but we're not doing the right things to make this a highly attractive real estate market. We just don't have the dynamics of supply and demand to warrant [Forest City] being a big player here."

Rich is in the business of selling these opinions to investors, people with capital who are looking for the best investments regardless of where in the world these might reside. As a public company involved in projects with long time horizons and high capital needs, Forest City must rely on these investors for the cash needed to complete the projects that deliver returns to shareholders (i.e., retirement funds, grandparents, working families and the like). Naturally, this responsibilty is what guides the company’s decisions.

If NEO citizens want Forest City to have an active presence in Cleveland’s reinvention, we need to create the economics that help the Cleveland-based company retain confidence with investors who have no allegiance to NEO. As Rich Moore has told and is telling others, our region is not making the compromises necessary to attract investment, such as tax abatements and other incentives.

The takeaway for us is we have to stop asking what Forest City or anyone else with desired resources can give us and start asking/listening to what it is we can do for them.

Thanks for reading. Happy New Year.


Blogger John Ettorre said...

My new years wish for you both is to grace us with ever more frequent posts. We enjoy reading your take whenever it comes. Happy holidays to you both.

11:20 PM  
Blogger Ed said...

I share John's wish. You have important insights to share.

4:59 PM  

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