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Plans Cost City $385,000 (And Why Naming Districts Won't Matter to Developers) Billy Gunn's article in the TT this morning tells most of us something we already knew: The City's so-called master plan(s) has cost a ton of money and has yet to produce anything tangible. Myron Lawson claims that information on downtown condo conversion projects will be revealed later this month (and I can't speak to our project... because I just don't know how far along we actually are in the planning stages... right now, it's up to architects and engineers). But I will say that of the conversion projects of which I am aware, none of them are a result of any master plan, and it's slightly disingenuous to claim that developers are looking at downtown because of an unpublished, unfinished master plan. We're looking downtown because when cities grow exponentially, developers will instinctually reinvest in segments of downtown (not all of it, as some people may have you claim). Also, let's speak to the elephant in the room: Without the Hotel Bentley, downtown revitalization is just a pipe dream. And I know that whoever ends up buying the Bentley won't give much attention to any master plan... he or she is going to give their attention to cap rates, interest rates, net operating income, and profit and loss statements. At the end of the day, numbers sell a hotel, not a city's plans. (Furthermore, I doubt that the city will be in any real position to buy the hotel from Dean, unless it's through complex legal channels). What I am saying (and what I have been saying for a few months now) is that developers move with the money... and if the city thinks that naming Lee Street, for example, as the "arts district" will magically motivate millions of dollars of investment in the area, they're sadly mistaken (and unforgivably naive). The reason a few blocks of Downtown Alexandria is lucrative is because private business owners and investors have reclaimed a section of it as their own... and they have set a very high standard.