Monday, January 31, 2011

White Elephant To Golden Goose

This article was originally posted in 2009 while the Hippodrome
was closed. I am reposting it now to serve as a reminder as to
how much of an impact this facility and Rain/Skyplex has had on the region.


The Paramount Theater was purchased in the summer of 1999. The Theater hadn't been opened for years, employed no one, and paid no taxes. We Made a huge investment, Saved a local landmark, employed over 150 people, and paid approximately $220,000 in back taxes to the city of Springfield. The Hippodrome opened in December of 2000 after a year of renovations.

We decided to look back over the last 9 years and see what the actual economic impact of our businesses has been for the City and the Region.

The first subject we researched was Police Details. We added up the amounts paid to the Springfield Police Department for Extra Duty Police at The Hippodrome and Rain/Skyplex. I think this makes us the largest private employer of extra duty police in the city. (Not including the gas and electric co.) Police Details $1,093,000 (Yes that is over 1 million dollars)

Next was the total amounts paid to the City of Springfield for Real Estate taxes, licensing, permits, and fees.
Total to City of Springfield for taxes,etc. $1,119,000
(over 1 million dollars again.)

Payroll wages are one of our largest expenses and all of our employees are local residents. This means that the wages we have paid go directly into the local economy.
Wages Paid (excluding owners) $5,600,000
(over 5.5 million)

We have employed plenty of local construction and repair people over the years. This includes, Painters, Plumbers, Carpenters, electricians, HVAC, etc.
Amount spent locally on construction, repairs, etc. $4,375,000

This is the total amount that Rain/Skyplex has directly spent into the local economy
$8,200,000

This is the total that The Hippodrome has directly pumped into the local economy
$15,252,000

Total for both spent directly into the local economy
$25,452,000

We tried to calculate the amount of money that our patrons (over 2 million people) have spent locally and what benefit it has had to the economy. This is a hard number to calculate, but we figure between, Hotel rooms (we know the number was over 500 room nights per year), Parking ( we know our patrons pay to park in local lots),Meal from local restaurants, Gas,Etc.
Benefit to local economy from customers visiting downtown
$20 to 40 Million dollars

Number of Patrons:
well over 2 million

Number of license violations in over 9 years:
0 (zero)

We were also responsible for booking all of the shows for the City Block Summer Concert Series at Stearns Sq. The Skyplex provides the Beer Concessions and bathrooms for the concert series along with the liability insurance for the shows. We didn't take the time to figure any of the economic benefit of our role in these shows, but from a public relations standpoint, this is the area's most anticipated yearly series of events and draws between 30 and 50 thousand people to Downtown Springfield every summer. I will be writing a post about this soon.

Friday, October 2, 2009

View From The Top

The Paramount has a 90 ft. "Boom" lift on the dance floor. The lift is being used to install the sprinkler system on the ceiling, which is 60 feet above the floor.
(Click on any of the pictures to enlarge)

Here is a view of the mural above the stage, taken from the same level as the mural. I was bout 15 feet away from it when I took this picture.



The last time we had this type of lift in the theater was in 2000 for the Hippodrome restoration. I have to confess that sometimes at night when all of the workmen go home, I like to take the lift out for a spin. This lift is made to be used indoors "only" and can fit through narrow doorways. That is why I think it sways so much. It takes some getting used to as the lift is rising and the shaking becomes more pronounced, the higher you go.



Above is a picture taken on the way up of the dome in the center of the ceiling.


Here is a view from above the mural. Not a great angle to see the painting, but a very different perspective on the whole theater from this high up.




This is a birds eye view of the Proscenium Arch.




This is the view looking back into the balcony and all of the scaffolding above it.
The dome is lit with red lights.
The batteries on my camera went dead after I snapped these pictures, unfortunately, I wasn't even all the way up to the ceiling yet.
In the next few days I will take the machine for another ride and get some better pictures.






Monday, September 21, 2009

Scaffolding Returns to The Paramount

Hardhats are now required @ the Hippodrome. Scaffolds have been erected, a "Boom Lift" has taken over the dance floor, Sprinkler pipe is everywhere, and work is underway.
I spent the day working at The Hippodrome, watching the scaffolding being set up for the sprinkler installation and ceiling restoration. This afternoon a 90 ft. boom lift was delivered and carefully driven down to the dance floor.
This combination of lifts and scaffolding is very similar to what was used in 2000 for the Hippodrome restoration. Today, I brought a camera with me to take some pictures of the interior with the scaffolding installed.


The scaffolding took 2 days to load in and set up. There was definitely a feeling of Deja vu for me, as the last time we had platforms like this built was 9 years ago. The difference this time is that the scaffold is meant to work on the entire ceiling, while last time we were restoring paint on the walls and only a few damaged parts of the ceiling.


The view in the above picture is from the top of the scaffolding looking across the ceiling at the other towers.


The view from 60 ft. up looking down on the chandeliers.

The scaffolds and lifts in 2000 were brought in and the paint restoration was done before we built the decks that lead down to the dance floor. At that time we were able to tie the lift to a Bobcat and drive the lift down to the dance floor. Now there are four sets of steps to drive the 6000 lb. lift down. I had this nifty looking ramp built out of 2"x 12"s and 3/4 in. plywood. There was a lot of snapping and crackling of wood, but we made it.