I’m very happy to be back adding my two cents to Concurring Opinions. Thanks very much, Dan, for the invite, and Sarah, for the introduction.
I was watching the NFL Vikings carve up the Bears yesterday, trying to decide what to post about first, and my eyes were drawn not to quarterback Brett Favre, running back Adrian Petersen . . . or even the freak who dresses like a viking and leads cheers inside the Metrodome, the Vikings’ domed stadium. I kept looking at the shots of the stadium itself, and thinking about two recent court orders.
One was issued last Monday, lifting an injunction on the previous week’s sale by auction of the 94,000 square foot, 80,300 seat Pontiac Silverdome, along with an adjacent fieldhouse and 127 acres of land. There were four bids. The winning bid? $583,000. Total. After auction fees, the current owner — the City of Pontiac, Michigan — will net about $430,000. When professional sports tenants such as the Detroit Lions left, a property that cost $56 million to build was rendered practically worthless. In fact, Pontiac was prepared to accept any bid for the property, since maintaining it was costing the City $1.5 million per year.
The other order was issued in September by Judge Berrigan of the U.S. District Court for the District of Eastern Louisiana, ordering St. Bernard Parish not to interfere with the construction of a mixed market-rate and low income housing project. The Parish, faced with an influx of low income tenants, had refused to issue building permits for the project, imposed a moratorium on building apartment complexes, and passed an ordinance making it illegal to rent to anyone other than a blood relative without special permission. The New Orleans area faces an extreme shortage of low income housing, despite the population diaspora from the area generally. Most of the housing destroyed by Katrina was low income.