Proposed conference center for Beaufort gets a negative economic forecast

Flickr user Derek K. Miller

Remember the study that was conducted about a proposed conference center for northern Beaufort County? Well, the results are in, and it's not good news for local advocates.

If you don't know why there's a push for it, the general idea is that it's impossible for Beaufort to draw in serious events or conferences as there's nowhere for them to be held. However, that idea likely got a setback by the results of the "Conference Center Feasibility and Economic Impact Study" by Atlanta-based PKF Consulting.

The Island Packet snagged a copy of the presentation on the survey study and it doesn't paint a glowing forecast.

The "optimistic" forecast would have the center steadily loosing cash (largely due to an underwhelmed target demographic of businesses), and in year five a loss of $213,700 is forecast.

Expect three possible counterpoints to be raised by supporters of the center:

1) The survey was erroneous;

2) The survey doesn't account for the ongoing economic turnaround; and

3) The annual $200,000 loss would be worth it for economic impact ripple effects in the local economy.

Still, with a forecast net cost of $14 million over 50 years, the report isn't a good omen.

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