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72nd NATIONAL BIRD SHOW
"YOUR SHOW OF SHOWS"
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Dear NBS Members,
I hope all is well with you and your breeding season is in high gear? When we last met at the show, we discussed the fact that the Pheasant Run Resort was up for sale. A lot has transpired since then. Below is a portion of what I recently sent to the NBS Board of Directors. It outlines what is going on at the hotel as well as what the Future Show Site committee has been researching in parallel. Please read through it and then read the summary and steps forward at the end.
Since we left the show I have been in almost weekly contact with Pheasant Run. In short, they do not know much more about their fate than we do. After the Holidays most of the staff have been let go. And they are in a sustaining mode just keeping the building up and cleaning for walkthroughs for potential buyers. Initially the auction was slated for the third week in January. About the first part of January they moved the auction to a new date, the second week in February. Feb 10th – 12th. I contacted Eric at Pheasant Run. I asked him if there was a reason for the new date. He then gave me the information. The city of St. Charles has a vested interest in Pheasant Run and the MegaCenter. The complex and it’s events bring in about 500,000 visitors to St. Charles. The City relies on that revenue. So they got involved in the sale and have an interest in who buys it and how it’s handled. Also, the length that the complex is shut down affects the possible revenue. So the City is offering to help re-zone and also expedite any building permits to new management. Their desire was to split the complex into three parcels. Here is what they split:
Parcel #1 is the wings of the old rooms that were shut down. They are proposing to level these and from the hotel to the corner will likely become multi-family dwellings. Like condos or apartments. They will re-zone that parcel and should sell quickly because of the appeal of the land and proximity to Main Street.
Parcel #2 is the Hotel and Golf Course itself. The City sees this as intimately tied to the MegaCenter. Events and visitors need to be tied to the MegaCenter and the hotel to support them. PR ownership has hinted that the previous prospective buyer was tied to the City somehow and has a desire to preserve Pheasant Run because of its ties to St. Charles. If you remember, they had a developer and a financial backer right before the Show. At the last minute the financial backer pulled out of the deal and we were informed that the hotel was then going to be auctioned. The city is hoping this developer is the one that wins the upcoming auction. The plan is to remodel/upgrade/demo the existing hotel. Last plan was to level the Golf wings and add a new tower. Also to remodel the area where the New Orleans ballroom and walkway is. But we really won’t know until the new owner takes over. The city said they are adding additional staff, to expedite the permits for the renovation. So they are going to fast track it so they don’t lose revenue. But I don’t really know what that means at this point.
Parcel #3 is the MegaCenter. The value of this facility to the hotel and the area is huge. The city has noted that they may actually buy the MegaCenter and work with the auction winner for Parcel #2. I don’t really have insight to what that actually means. But It may be just a facelift on the building so they can continue the have the events there. I see this as a plus that it may be a possibility to still hold the show there. But there are still many unknowns at this point.
So, where does this leave us. In reality, we are left in the dark until the sale until the auction takes place. Then it will likely take a while to find out the plan for Pheasant run. I see the likelihood of us holding our show there in 2020 as very low. With that in mind, the Future Show Site committee (myself, John, Bob and Denise) has been working for a month or so. We reached out to about every convention bureau in the Chicagoland area. We also researched about every venue that we knew would accommodate us in the area. We had also been contacted by a few venues that must have contacted PR because they offered to discuss with us about moving to their venue. We did not find any that had our two preferred weekends open or could accommodate our needs. So we contacted some of the previous venues we had been to. St. Louis, Kansas City, etc. Still no luck. So then we started looking at any and all venues we could find. We sent them a cover letter and information packet. We are in the middle of sorting through about 45 possible sites.
What is the future of our show? I believe we all want to not only have a show this year but keep this great show going. What we must realize is we had it too good the last 5 years. Pheasant run was perfect for us. We had all the space we needed and more. We had the most advantageous contract we every had. The venue is what the majority wanted in the membership poll 6 years ago. But we stand at a crossroads. If we lose PR this year and beyond we will likely never have the same show we have had. The show will definitely be something different. We may have to manage it differently. We may have to get some kind of additional sponsorships. We may have to remove certain events we have always had. Do we have just a show and nothing else for this year and then regroup and plan our future? I don’t know all the answers but there will certainly be some changes.
We certainly cannot have our Board of Directors meeting in just a few weeks. We are not close enough to make any decisions. We will have to delay it a bit. We are asking the members to be patient until we figure a few things out. We will exhaust every option to ensure we stage a show for you. It may not have all the bells and whistles we’ve had in the past but we are committed to having the show portion be the same caliber because that’s what this is all about, the bird show. We may be asking all of you and the Specialty Societies to do some things on a short notice. Like affiliations, judge’s selections etc. So please be responsive when we ask. And as always, if you have any questions please reach out to me or anyone else on this Board and we will get you and answer if we can.
Talk to you soon,
On behalf of your NBS Board of Directors,
President –National Bird Show
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