A picture worth $323,000,000 of words.

Here’s why I am so obsessed with Queen City Square, The Great American Tower:

Port Authority of Greater Cincinnati Financing Projects in Millions

Port Authority of Greater Cincinnati Financing in Millions; chart by the ever-so-clever Anonymous

Historians boil facts down into numbers so they can look for disruptions in the norm. Data doesn’t give you answers.  It shows you where you have to start asking the questions.   After a few hours studying the Port Authority numbers on their web site, this is what I saw:  “Apple,” “Banana,” “Kumquat,” and a “Really Big Elephant” in glowing,  glorious red neon.

In public presentations, Laura Brunner, the Port’s executive director,always focuses on their mission of helping blighted neighborhoods that wouldn’t be developed otherwise and old manufacturing facilities with environmental problems.  Queen City Square clearly doesn’t fit either of those categories and so I called the Port Authority last spring to ask about their logic.  But when I pushed, all they could tell me was, “We did it because City Hall told us to.  And you’ll have a hard time finding anybody there because they’ve all left.”

The biggest, most complicated development deal this city has ever undertaken – by far – and 6 years after the fact, not one single person wants to articulate why we did it.

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