Naperville has 11 Starbucks locations

The recent move of the downtown Naperville Starbucks to a larger location led to a quick mention of the numbers of Starbucks’ location in the suburb:

A favorite place to stop for coffee is on the go in Naperville as two of the 11 Starbucks stores in the city are preparing to move.

Naperville has collected many accolades over the last two decades (see earlier posts here, here, and here) and this may be another one: having this many Starbucks suggests the community has a certain level of wealth and quality of life. Certain businesses can set a community apart and many suburbs would love to have multiple Starbucks not just for the money they generate (think of the drip, drip, drip of sales tax revenues) but for the prestige they confer.

Here are the locations according to Google Maps:


Not surprisingly, the majority are located along major transportation corridors: Route 59, Ogden Avenue, and 75th Street.

What if no one wants to host the 2022 Winter Olympics?

The parade of cities pulling out of the running to host the 2022 Winter Olympics continues:

Norway’s ruling party just voted against funding Oslo’s 2022 Winter Olympics bid, essentially forcing the city to drop out of the race. It’s just the latest in a long series of cities and countries who have given an emphatic “no” to hosting the Olympic quagmire…

In a non-binding referendum in February, 55.9 percent of Norwegians said they didn’t want the Games. “There must be major changes in the IOC before I can help to support an Olympic application,” said Tromsø Mayor Jens Johan Hjort.

Stoking some of that anger was the IOC’s list of demands for an Oslo bid, which included a cocktail reception with Norway’s king, with the tab on either the royal family or the Norwegian Olympic Committee. Among the IOC’s other demands:

  • Cars and drivers for IOC members, with special dedicated highway lanes
  • Street lights synchronized to prioritize IOC traffic
  • Separate airport entrance for IOC members
  • Hotel mini-bars must have only Coca-Cola products
  • Samsung phones for all IOC members
  • All meeting rooms must be kept at exactly 68 degrees.
  • All furniture must have “Olympic appearance.”
  • “IOC members will be received with a smile on arrival at hotel”

Oslo joins a decorated list of municipalities that have declined to pursue Olympic bids, or dropped out of the running after residents voted against it. Invariably, each blamed the rising cost and invisible benefits of hosting the Olympics. Among those who withdrew are Krakow, Poland; Stockholm, Sweden; Munich, Germany; Davos/St. Moritz, Switzerland; and Lviv, Ukraine, which dropped out just before the IOC selected three finalists (the only three cities remaining).

Only two cities are left and there are still 9 months or so until the vote is taken. Whatever prestige, coverage, and extra visitors that the Winter Olympics bring is apparently not enough to outweigh all of the costs. It appears at least some cities have learned about the costs of paying for sporting events and whether they pay off for the community.

Are America’s most admired simply America’s most powerful?

Peter Beinart looks at the most recent Gallup’s most recent Most Admired poll and notices a trend:

Nor is it true that Gallup merely measures celebrity, since athletes and Hollywood icons are largely absent. Looking at the winners across the decades, the most common denominator is power. Indeed, the only female winners not in close proximity to political power are Mother Theresa in the 1980s and 1990s and Elizabeth Kenny, an Australian nurse who gained fame treating polio, in 1951.

The men tell a similar story. Presidents almost always win. When they’re deemed weak or unpopular, the public anoints another strong political figure: Douglas MacArthur supplants Harry Truman in 1946 and 1947; Dwight Eisenhower tops Lyndon Johnson in 1967 and 1968; Henry Kissinger replaces Richard Nixon between 1973 and 1975. Even the religious figures who do best are the ones closest to power. Although he never wins, the Reverend Billy Graham—famous for pastoring to presidents—makes the top-10 list more than other man between 1948 and 2005. The other highest-scoring religious figures are popes. Missing are any of the clergy, like William Sloane Coffin or Daniel Berrigan, who made their names fighting the Vietnam War.

In fact, activists protesting injustice rarely rank highly. That includes Martin Luther King. He doesn’t make America’s top 10 most admired men in 1963, the year of the March on Washington. King comes fourth in 1964 and sixth in 1965 but then falls out of the top ten again in 1966 and 1967. The same is true for Nelson Mandela. By the mid-1980s, the global anti-apartheid movement had made Mandela a household name. But as far as I can tell, he doesn’t crack Gallup’s top-10 list until he is elected South Africa’s president in 1994. (To be fair, I was only able to check 1983, 1984 , 1986, 1987, and 1992. For 1993, I could only find the top five. After 1994, Mandela becomes a top-10 regular. But by then, the Cold War is over, the controversy surrounding his communist sympathies has evaporated, and he’s become safe.

I suppose we shouldn’t be too surprised at this. Part of it could be that people get to vote for some of the political positions so they feel like they had a voice. Additionally, the media tends to cover the most powerful a lot. Celebrities may get a lot of attention but they tend not to do too well, whether star athletes or Hollywood stars, in job prestige rankings.

Beinart suggests the American public should pay more attention to activists, people fighting for justice rather than people holding the reins of justice. These two things are not mutually exclusive: powerful leaders can be good leaders. But, this could be a problem if people are admired simply for the power they command rather than for what they actually do with that power.

“World’s largest building opens in China”

Check out the new biggest building in the world that recently opened in Chengdu, China:

Located in Chengdu (population 14 million), capital of Sichuan province in southwestern China, the New Century Global Center is the largest freestanding building in the world, Chinese officials say…

At 500 meters long, 400 meters wide and 100 meters high, the 1.7-million-square-meter mega-structure is capable of housing 20 Sydney Opera Houses and almost three times the size of the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.

The Global Center, which opened June 28, is home to business offices, hotels, theaters, shopping malls, a faux Mediterranean village and family-themed attractions such as a water park called Paradise Island.

The New Century Global Center is located in an entirely new planned area of Chengdu called Tainfu New District.

The pictures give some indication of the size of this building but I suspect it is one of those things you have to walk around and in to truly understand its size. The volume of buildings is fairly abstract. Even making the comparisons that it could hold 20 Sydney Opera Houses or nearly 3 Pentagons isn’t easy to comprehend.

I wonder if this building opens up another angle on the tallest skyscraper battle in which several cities and countries are engaged. Why build up if you still have the room and ambition to construct sprawling buildings. Having this largest building may give Chengdu some prestige and a showy place to put their ambitions on the map.

Returning to past Olympic cities

Intrigued by the tens of billions of dollars spent on recent Olympics by host cities, a photographer returns to the cities and structures of past Olympic games and documents some of the change:

The result is The Olympic City a book (out tomorrow) and traveling exhibition (opens tomorrow at Brooklyn, N.Y.’s Powerhouse Arena) of the photos Hustwit and Pack snapped, from Helsinki, Finland’s 1952 Olympic Stadium to London’s 2012 architectural spread, from Athens’ “completely unused” village to Beijing’s hulking gray structures. “It’s a little bit of an archaeological excursion,” Hustwit says. “We’re trying to find the evidence of the olympics in these places and look at how it’s affected that neighborhood and how people are living in these spaces.”

The pictures are interesting as is seeing how cities are utilizing these venues:

Beijing’s Lao Shan Velodrome is still being used, though the amount of wear (Pack speculates degradation could be accelerated by pollution) makes it look like a building from the ’60s. The giant parking lots are being used for driver training: “When I was there there were people to there learning how to parallel park,” Pack said…

Another shot of Athens’ Olympic Village, which is now totally empty. “The takeaway [of the project] is that the cities that really needed these venues already have done well,” Hustwit said. “But the majority of these cities weren’t really thinking about the long-term benefit for the people who lived there.”…

Despite the fact that Sarajevo’s Olympic infrastructure is totally destroyed, the Olympics remains “a point of pride” and “very much part of the city’s cultural history,” Hustwit said.

Cities tend to vie for Olympics for the prestige they offer but the buildings and money tend not to benefit the average person of the country (unless you count civic and/or national pride). Given the costs of preparing for the Olympics, I wonder if we are nearing a point where no cities will even want to compete for the games. Yet, my urban suspicions suggest there may just be a few cities who might want the power of the Olympics to do some major redevelopment in their cities that would be much harder to accomplish otherwise.

Suburbs wooing the Chicago Cubs highlights the regional nature of sports teams and stadiums

The Chicago Cubs moving out of the city seems unlikely. But, that hasn’t stopped several Chicago suburbs from suggesting they would be willing to work out a deal with the Cubs to build a new stadium:

What the soliciting suburbs believe — and sources close to the Cubs confirm — is that the siblings of Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts are souring on Chicago and growing increasingly concerned the deal will be modified in a way that denies the team the revenue it needs to renovate Wrigley without a public subsidy…

“If this deal looks like it’s going down in flames or not getting done in a reasonable time, Tom will invest in ‘Plan B’ locations. He’d still work with the mayor on a city site. But, maybe not in Wrigleyville. I know people don’t believe it. But, it’s true,” the Cubs source said…

Aides to Mayor Rahm Emanuel privately dismissed this week’s public solicitation from DuPage County Board Chairman Dan Cronin as a Cubs-orchestrated negotiating ploy.

“This is all manufactured to gain leverage,” said a top mayoral aide, who asked to remain anonymous.

Last month, Ricketts threatened to move his team out of Wrigley and Chicago if he doesn’t get the outfield signs he needs to bankroll a $300 million stadium renovation without a public subsidy.

This comes after the announcement this week that DuPage County has two potential sites for the Cubs. But, little extra information about these plans were provided.

But, I think a more interesting take is the regional nature of sports teams and stadiums. Sports teams these days are really regional entities, particularly considering that more people live in the suburbs than central cities. It is unusual to have a team like the Cubs so closely tied to a specific neighborhood. Additionally, cities often see sports stadiums as economic engines, even though research suggests spending lots of taxpayer dollars on stadiums doesn’t pay off for communities. On one hand, it is not all that different than fighting over big box stores or corporate headquarters because of the supposed economic benefits. Yet, on the other hand it is a constant status symbol. Could the city of Chicago really afford in terms of prestige to lose the Cubs? I don’t think so. Would a suburb get a big status boost from hosting the Cubs? Possibly. If a suburb was able to woo the Cubs, I imagine they would trumpet this fact and try to build around it for decades.

This has happened before in Chicago. When the Chicago Bears were looking for a new stadium from the 1970s to the early 1990s, several suburbs were involved. The Bears ended up getting a decent enough deal from the city to stay. (Maybe they should have pushed harder. They have the smallest NFL stadium in terms of seats and with it also being an open-air facility, this limits its Super Bowl possibilities in the future. Also, the facility is still owned by the Chicago Park District and this has led to issues over the years.) Again, it is hard to imagine the Chicago Bears, a historic NFL franchise, playing out in the suburbs next to a major highway. What would have been a boon for a suburb would have been a big perceived loss for Chicago.

In the end, these sorts of negotiations can pit cities against suburbs in similar ways to fighting over business opportunities. But, rather than arguing about just money, sports teams are viewed as public goods that belong to a region. Perhaps the worst possible outcome is for the region to lose a team to another region altogether. The second worst outcome might be for the big city to lose the stadium to an upstart suburb.

What does Naperville gain by scheduling its first marathon?

Naperville is a decorated suburb: it is unusually large and wealthy compared to most suburbs, has been recognized by a number of publications for its better traits, and has a lively downtown. Now the suburb is adding another feature: it has scheduled its first marathon for November 10, 2013.

“Naperville has a great running community but they’ve never had a marathon, for whatever reason,” said Bob Hackett, who has organized the Fox Valley Marathon in St. Charles for the past three years. “We realized that as great of a city as Naperville is, it’s lost without one, so we’re making it happen.”Hackett said organizers first approached the city two years ago but found the special events planning calendar already booked solid.

The 26.2-mile course has yet to be finalized, but Hackett said it will start near 95th Street and Book Road and wander south into Plainfield and unincorporated Will County before heading back north into Naperville. The course will take runners along a variety of streets and through forest preserve property…

“The course should be somewhat flat and fast, but it will have its rolling hills and challenges,” Hackett said. “It will be a Boston-qualifying race, so there’s an opportunity for runners to put together a fast race if they’re looking to head to Boston.”…

Hackett said the Fox Valley run has drawn as many as 7,500 runners, but the first Naperville event will be capped at 4,000. He doesn’t think they’ll have any trouble hitting that mark.

There are several ways this race could help boost the prestige of Naperville;

1. This could bring in more people and attention to Naperville. All this could translate into more tax revenue and status.

2. This suburban marathon is connected to the Boston Marathon, a prestigious race. Additionally, there are a limited number of Boston-qualifying races. Check out this list of 2012 marathons and the number of qualifiers for Boston each race produced: many of these races are city races, not suburban races.

3. It will be interesting to see how Naperville tries to tie this to existing recreational and outdoor activities in Naperville. While it is a relatively flat Midwestern town, Naperville has a popular Riverwalk along the DuPage River and numerous parks and Forest Preserves (particularly the 1,867 acre Springbrook Prairie).

This seems like a win-win of the community: runners get a local race, the city of Naperville gets a marquee event to add to the schedule, and the event is on a Sunday morning so shouldn’t disrupt too much of normal suburban life.

When one suburban mayor gets upset with a neighboring suburban mayor

Interactions between suburbs can get interesting, particularly if a business opens with which two suburbs would like to be associated:

All that having been said, some things still stick in your craw. Some things keep happening again and again, and every single time they make you see red, and the sense of frustration just lingers. I was chatting with David Harding at the rededication of Kiwanis Park by the Warrenville Park District when he mentioned that he got an invitation to the grand opening of a new business on Weaver Parkway in Cantera, and the special guest of honor to cut the ribbon was George Pradel, the Mayor of Naperville. David was annoyed by this, as he knew I would be, and he was kind enough to email to me the information later. Sure enough, the Mayor of Naperville was welcoming a new business to Warrenville and the Mayor of  Warrenville had not even been invited to the event!

As you might imagine, as your Mayor, this kind of stuff really bugs me. It seems to be localized, and principally affects businesses in Cantera on our border with Naperville. Warrenville’s Cantera development is first class, so naturally businesses find it attractive and locate there. But, for marketing purposes, the Naperville name carries more weight, so people do their best to play up the Naperville connection and minimize the Warrenville address. I have seen hotel shuttle busses for Warrenville hotels with “Naperville/Warrenville” featured prominently on their sides. Of course, I think that should be “Warrenville/Naperville”, and it sets me off every time I see one, but I get it.  Business is about positioning for maximum success. You can’t blame a business, especially given current conditions, for trying to leverage, what is to them, every marketing advantage. And, bottom line, what is most important to the community is that our businesses prosper and stay around for a long time. If they find it necessary to fudge things a little to appear to be in what they see as a more lucrative market, I suppose that is a small price to pay.

But this new business still got a letter from me. I can assure you it was a respectful and polite statement that we were disappointed that they apparently didn’t feel it was inappropriate to invite the Mayor of another community to cut their ribbon as they opened their new business here in Warrenville, and a reminder that Warrenville is proud of who we are and we hope they are as happy to be here as we are to have them here. Thankfully, each time I have to write one of these letters, Ana talks me back from the edge, and proves to be a most prudent editor.

I won’t tell you the name of this latest new business. I’m sure they meant no disrespect, and that they are good folks. Also, I don’t think it would be a good idea if a couple hundred angry Warrenville citizens arrived at their front door some evening with blazing torches held high, bearing buckets of hot tar and sacks of feathers, loudly inviting them to relocate to the community that they apparently prefer with an offer of help to do so, although I must confess, this image is appealing. No, Warrenville will take the high road, as we always try to do. That’s who we are. Besides, what goes around comes around. Just the other day, I passed a shuttle belonging to a Naperville hotel that had “Chicago/Naperville” prominently featured on its sides.

I found this amusing. But, there are some deeper issues here:

1. Naperville is the big, successful suburb. Not only does it have lots of people, a vibrant downtown, and good schools,it has done so in large part because of a thriving business community that has provided a lot of good jobs. Warrenville, on the other hand, is a smaller community of over 13,000 people that has less wealth and prestige.

2. Warrenville finally incorporated in the 1960s to be able to control some nearby land and not have it all fall into the hands of Naperville.

3. It does seem a bit odd for the business to invite the mayor of Naperville and not the suburb in which it actually located. If they wanted to be attached to the idea of Naperville, why not actually locate in Naperville? There has to be a good reason they located in Warrenville.

4. I’m not sure what the mayor of Warrenville achieved in this statement to the public. That he is willing to stick up for Warrenville? That Warrenville deserves some attention as well? Warrenville is not going to become Naperville and would probably say it doesn’t want to…so what purpose does this serve?

Why cities bid to host the Super Bowl (hint: it’s not just about the immediate money)

A story about how cities win the opportunity to host the Super Bowl has this explanation of why cities bid in the first place:

The NFL looks at the Super Bowl location as a kind of carrot to reward cities that are expanding the NFL’s sphere of influence, either by fielding a winning team, building a fancy stadium, or, ideally, both. Cities bid for the honor of hosting the Super Bowl because it brings in tourist dollars and prestige.

How much money is the subject of some debate. The NFL maintains that the Super Bowl brings in hundreds of millions of dollars to local economies. An article from the Indianapolis Business Journal says, “The NFL estimates Indianapolis will draw 100,000 to 150,000 visitors who could spend $200 million over a 10-day span.”

However, some find that number to be misleading. An academic paper from Holy Cross titled “Economics of the Super Bowl” argues that these numbers are “‘padded’ at least as well as the players on the field.”

Philip Porter, an economics professor from the University of South Florida, attempted to figure out the Super Bowl’s financial impact in 2007. The Sun-Sentinel reports that “he said he examined data from the Florida Department of Revenue showing expenditures in Miami-Dade County were $3.318 billion in February 2006 and $3.308 billion in February 2007.”

Regardless, there are some tangible benefits for citizens of Super Bowl cities. In the case of Indianapolis, “the city pledged to build a practice facility downtown that will be left in place for local residents to use.” There is also an increase in jobs (even if the jobs are temporary).

It sounds like the NFL pushes the economic argument: host the Super Bowl fans plus teams plus the media plus celebrities will spend lots of money. In addition, the temporary jobs that are created helps the Super Bowl bring money into a city. However, I wonder if this falls into a similar territory of the sports team who argues the city or state should spend taxpayer dollars to help build a new stadium or the team will leave. Studies show that these arguments are bogus: taxpayers end up spending money that owners profit because few cities can “afford” to let the big team go. Also, the article also suggests that a new stadium had to be built for the Colts for this bid to have any success and this cost money (some from the Colts, the rest from a food and drink tax). It sounds like it might be fairly easy to look at the economic data across Super Bowls.

My guess is that prestige, status, and the attention the Super Bowl draws and the money that this can lead to down the road is more important here. This helps put Indianapolis on the map and hopefully is not just a one-time event but rather helps lead to other big conventions and events (the city is already known as a sport town since it is home to the NCAA, hosts the Indianapolis 500) as well as attracting businesses who might otherwise not have a reason to visit the city. The immediate economic benefits may be nice to tout but this event gives a lot of air time and from what I have heard, media people have been impressed by the way Indy has rolled out the red carpet and also made all of the necessary locations within walking distance of each other. Wouldn’t it be great to be the mayor or other elected official who can claim that you helped bring the Super Bowl to Indianapolis? Wouldn’t it be even better to say that hosting the big game helped bring in more long-term revenue into the city? The real pull here is not the practice facility that is left behind but rather the fact that Indy is capable of hosting the biggest game in the United States.