Today: Something Fishy This Way Swims, Tiny Crown Center Aquarium to Obliterate Halls Store


When it comes to money losers, there are a lot of ways to cut the cake…

Which brings us to the just-announced, $15 million aquarium going into Crown Center. This isn’t the first time a local fish wish has been tossed about. But this is no pie-in-the-sky, it’s the real deal.

Not that there won’t be casualties…

The aquarium will knock out the first floor Hall‘s Crown Center’s mens store and all or part of its second floor where cards, silver and china are displayed. The third floor womens section will reportedly remain intact. The men’s store will reopen after moving to the retail part of Crown Center.

So will it work?  Yes and no.

Frankly $15 million is chump change where aquariums are concerned.

"The Tennessee Aquarium attracts over a million visitors annually, pumping external revenue into the local economy while carrying out its mission of educating people about the critical importance of understanding and protecting our freshwater ecologies," a recent study states.

But having spent some time in Chattanooga, I can tell you in no small part that aquarium’s success is the result of an extensive, overall effort by the city to convert its downtown into a regional, family-oriented tourist Mecca.

The aquarium alone dropped 45 million 1992 dollars into the project, alongside another $120 million in adjacent improvements. It was since doubled after the addition a few years ago of a second building. And four years back Salt Lake City looked at a $34 million aquarium, so it costs some serious jack to do it right.

Time will tell, but at least it won’t fall entirely on the shoulders of taxpayers.

Think of it as a battle between the forces of Good Things Come in Small Packages and the Size Matters crowd.
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11 Responses to Today: Something Fishy This Way Swims, Tiny Crown Center Aquarium to Obliterate Halls Store

  1. Bubba says:

    Inquiring minds …
    … but will it have giant Catfish,

  2. Cliffy says:

    Good deal …
    Hall’s is the most incredibly boring store I’ve even been through in my life. But I’m sure Hearne probably buys his socks there.

  3. Vic Throxton says:

    Down with the fish
    Really $15 million? Again KC goes all the was to half ass! This will be cool for two years, drained in ten years. There are stories of what a money pit these are. Just wait with in five years the owners will be whiny for tax support.

  4. newbaum turk says:

    I wish everyone would come to their senses, do what’s best for KC and put a world-class aquarium in Union Station where it belongs. And while we’re at it put the proper amount of money in to it and do it right! You kill two birds with one stone here. We get a great aquarium and a permanent attraction in Union Station. I know there is still plans to build one at the old Mission Mall site as well. This is a huge mistake on both sides here. Put it at Union Station PLEASE! Oh yeah, the New Orleans aquarium has a bar, they should do that too.

  5. Fishy says:

    Too many?
    hearne, did you ask that question for your story?

    As far as Mission Kansas doing something with their ugly, non revenue generating weed lot?? I am still rolling my eyes at that and the other constant stupidity of Mission Kansas. That hick run town is too dumb to do, or even know how to do, anything properly, EXAMPLES??? 1) ripping down a perfectly fine shopping center and making it an ugly weeded, vermin infested lot, 2) making perfectly fine 2 lane roads in to one lane road, 3) instituting a “driveway tax” that will drive AWAY business… the list goes on and on etc etc ….

    Those clueless idiots in Mission have no concept of how to utilize business concepts to make money. Mission’s hayseed mentality isusing isBarney Fief/ Mayberry RFD. ….herpdedurp…durrrrrr… Mission sez…. Lets have the police make us all the money we need…… durrrrr…. that will do us fine ya’ll …..

    Yeah, That will do until people are sick of police harrasment and then they NEVER go back to Mission again.Mission needs to fire the entire idiotic city council and put some smart people in to reverse the stupity.

    Why do things always have to become a complete disaster verging on bancrupting businesses and raising property taxes beyond reasonable rates before they think about fixing the underlying problems, in this case bad city leadership ruining what used to be a fine city?

  6. bschloz says:

    Union Station

  7. Hearne Christopher says:

    Correction: Used to buy my socks there.

  8. craig glazer says:

    Good Idea Hearne
    I think you hit this one right on the head. It takes more than l5 million to do it right. Like Sprint Areana needed to be a 600 million dollar unit not 250. In two years it will start falling apart, bathrooms already look like crap, cheap plastic already busted up. Also the seats are like one inch from each other, you get what you pay for and it was too cheap, so yeah its like a cheap car, good for a year or three thats it. Same with this, should be in Union Station. Good idea.

  9. Hearne Christopher says:

    Funny, when I first heard the rumor, it was for Union Station. Which obviously would be a far better place for a museum sized aquarium. I shudder to think at what the cost would be however. To truly do it right. Which would require major tax dollar support. And likely would require ongoing monies to keep afloat.

    I suppose this plan is better than nothing. And it’s free in terms of no taxpayer money on the front end.

    My take on it is somebody sold the idea to the Hall family – nothing gets done over there absent that explicit approval – and they fell for it. Again, kinda dumb. But in the scheme of things, it’s better than a poke in the eye.

  10. mermaid says:

    Maybe a mermaid could help?
    Maybe they could put swimming mermaids in it like they do in Vegas and Florida? Just keep the sharks out. The city can pay my 30 to 50 grand wage!

  11. PatriotPat says:

    Should be a nice addition to Crown Center. Can’t wait until it is done!

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