South Charlotte

1st signs of DNC impact soon?

It will be mid summer before south Charlotte will begin to know the economic effect of the 2012 Democratic National Convention.

Tim Newman said the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority is making hotel contracts its top priority to help maximize Charlotte's economic gain.

The Ballantyne Breakfast Club held a meeting April 9 at the Ballantyne Hotel & Lodge to discuss the Democratic National Convention.

The meeting featured guest speakers from various organizations who spoke to about 150 Charlotte residents. Guest speakers included Bob Morgan, president of the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce; Newman, CEO of the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority; Michael Smith, president of the Charlotte Center City Partners; Mohammad Jenatian, president of the Greater Charlotte Hospitality Tourism Alliance; and Jennifer Roberts, chairman of the Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners. Newman reassured residents Charlotte was ready for a convention of this magnitude, which is anticipated to bring more than 30,000 people to the area in 2012.

"We've done bigger events than this," said Newman. "The CIAA brought 190,000 people into the city and the NRA brought 72,000.

"We couldn't have pulled this off in 2000, but (we) have grown up as a city and are ready now."

Morgan said branding the city and maximizing its economic opportunities will be accomplished by taking care of the 15,000 anticipated journalists who will be in Charlotte during the convention.

"They will be the ones reporting on the convention and putting Charlotte in front of people who have never heard us," said Morgan. "It's going to help create a legacy for Charlotte."

Not everyone agreed. Jay Privette, a Ballantyne resident, said he didn't think the economic benefits would be long-term.

"They overstate the benefits and understate the costs," he said. "There is going to be a lot of job loss when the convention leaves town and I think the benefit will be very short-term."

Jenatian disagreed.

"Because of this convention, we no longer have to go out and let people know who we are," he said. "Within three days of announcing the convention, we booked future conventions.

"We have spent millions on trying to make Charlotte a destination city and after the convention, it will be."