Did Everyone Catch the Opening of the Aquarium Construction Bids?

Here is the skinny from Anita Lee:

The low bidder was Roy Anderson Corp. of Gulfport with a bid of $52.1 million, followed by Thrash Commercial Contractors of Brandon at $57 million and Wharton-Smith Inc. at $59.7 million.

The low bid came in almost at the budgeted price for the main aquarium structures, which is $52 million.

Sweet serendipity folks. I wonder what made up the 8.77% RA left on the table?

Now a damn good question from a reader. To set up the line of thinking we have another recent news story from the City of Waveland, which is still trying to rid itself of the albatross that is the “free” business incubator that was built with government money after the Hurricane. You see folks when it comes to maintaining “free” assets like a commercial building, there is no such thing as free.

Along those lines there is the “free” BP money and the new Mississippi Aquarium. Already millions have been spent on site prep with another $54 million on tap for construction of the structures. If we learned anything from Boss Hogg’s adventures in building rural water systems in northern Harrison County after Hurricane Katrina, the bricks and mortar are never the problem in Mississippi, its the pie in the sky economic projections that fail to materialize after that are the problem.

A good follow up question is who gets stuck with the bill if the new aquarium fails to attract enough paid attendance?

7 thoughts on “Did Everyone Catch the Opening of the Aquarium Construction Bids?”

  1. “A good follow up question is who gets stuck with the bill if the new
    aquarium fails to attract enough paid attendance?”

    Might I suggest the “if” in that question be replaced with “when”.

    To meet the attendance projections (487,000/yr.) in the Mississippi Aquarium’s own web site 1,333 visitors per day – 365 days a year will have to pay attendance to the aquarium.
    Assuming it’s open 10 hrs./day that’s over 2 paid entries every minute.

    Again, from the aquarium’s web site they expect total “revenues” of $340 million. Simple arithmetic shows that each and every one of those 487,000 visitors will somehow contribute $698.15 to the local economy that’s entirely attributable to the aquarium.
    For a family of four (4), the City’s expecting $2,792.60 in revenue we wouldn’t have were it not for the aquarium’s presence

    Just one citizen’s opinion but this a money pit of biblical proportions in the making.
    And we all know who’s gonna be stuck with the bill.

    Oh yeah…. and the City’s (read taxpayers) is getting ready to have to make another annual $300,000 interest-only payment on the line of credit used to buy the land.

  2. Research the pie in the sky Ohr O’Keefe Museum in Biloxi. It had lofty goals. They were going to attract hundreds of thousands of people. So far it is just another boondoggle on the backs of the good tax payers in Biloxi.

    Look at Infinity! It is beyond ever being sustainable!

    Carter Church Mardi Gras Museum in BSL is another bait and switch. A Ruse for free rent!

    1. Those things you listed are all unfortunately yesterday’s boondoggles. The aquarium comps are not favorable – next door in NOLA the Aquarium of the Americas, a very fine facility, gets by from taxpayer support along with the support of the Audubon Foundation endowment. The Tampa Aquarium also requires taxpayer support to stay open. Throw in some bullshit attendance numbers and this whole project screams boondoggle.

      The Coast really lacks a critical business journalism outlet and by critical I mean an outlet whose business section is more than regurgitated press releases. The Mississippi Aquarium made my radar thanks to a WLOX TV morning show report from last month which listed the reasons for the delayed bid opening, all of which set my bullshit detector off. The report faithfully listed every BS excuse that was given to him by the aquarium folks but it seems to me there is more to business journalism than regurgitating press releases or in this case bullshit. The media has to put down the pom poms to be useful here.

  3. They need to put a convention center next to the Aquarium. With all those conventioneers dropping in to see Nemo and Friends, its bound to make a bundle!

  4. Promoters of the Mississippi Aquarium predict the success of the project based largely on the fact that the aquarium will open debt free because its being built primarily with BP money.

    BP money?

    Suggests the old gamblers fallacy of playing with “house money.” Of course, there is no such thing. Once the dealer slides those chips over to your side of the table it’s YOUR money. And once BP slid those chips over to Jackson, it belonged to every citizen of the state of Mississippi.
    While it may be technically “debt-free” it’s still our money.

    But let’s look at another example:
    The Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta opened 10 years ago and truly was completely debt-free. The founder of Home Depot and his wife donated $250 million for its’ construction. Significant construction and operational grant were also received from: Southern Company, SunTrust Bank, AirTran Airways, UPS, Georgia-Pacific, and Turner Broadcasting System. The Coca Cola Company even donated the 9 acers of land the aquarium is built on.
    And after 10 years of operation and an average paid attendance of over 2 Million visitors/yr. it had an operating LOSS of $2.3 million in 2015 (the most recent year for which results are published).

    But regardless the initial expenditure of the people of MS’s money for construction. the Mississippi Aquarium cannot open debt-free unless the approx. $15 million borrowed by the taxpayers of the City of Gulfport to purchase the land it sits on is repaid. And no one’s predicted where that money may come from.

    1. Too funny.
      There are a lot of ” Kempers” out there and they are ALL pretty ” fishy!”
      In the poorest state in in the Union, it’s gonna take a lot of visitors paying to go through those doors every minute of every day!! 🦈🐳🐠🐟🐬🦑!!

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