Chicago's McCormick Place -- which is battling to remain the home of the NPE trade show -- is having a tough time this year. John Gates Jr., the new chairman of the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority, told his board on Tuesday that reduced tourism and convention business has "put us in a fairly significant and unprecedented financial hole. ... It's not an insurmountable hole, but we can't climb our way out of it and conduct business as usual." According to this story in Crain's Chicago Business, when the current fiscal year ends June 30, McPier predicts the shortfall in tourism-based revenue will be $33.9 million from the previous year, following an $18.8-million shortfall in fiscal 2009. The agency relies on the tourism-related tax revenue to pay back the bonds that it uses to finance expansion projects, like the new West hall at McCormick. To meet its current obligation, Gates says the agency will tap state sales tax revenue, which it has not had to do until now. "The state will pay that shortfall for the foreseeable future until we can restructure these bonds and get our financial house back in order," Gates said. Just consider these details as important background that's sure to play a role in the behind-the-scenes discussions on NPE between Chicago and the Society of the Plastics Industry Inc.
McCormick Place in a 'financial hole'
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