Thursday, February 07, 2002

Saks gets its $6.6M subsidy

By Gregory Korte
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Cincinnati City Council gave final approval to a $6.6 million subsidy for Saks Fifth Avenue Wednesday, completing a deal that could keep the department store downtown through 2017.

        And though the 5-4 vote was anticlimactic — City Council had approved the deal in principle last year — controversy lingered over the idea of giving public money to a business to remodel its store to accommodate more designer lines.

        Voting for the subsidy were Paul Booth, Minette Cooper, Chris Monzel, David Pepper and Jim Tarbell. Opposed were John Cranley, David Crowley, Pat DeWine and Alicia Reece.

        Mr. Crowley said he wanted to find an excuse to support the deal, but couldn't bring himself to do it. He said he was “put off” when a Saks representative refused to answer a simple question: Is the store making money?

        Supporters — led by Mayor Charlie Luken — said the city was acting as any suburban mall would, giving free rent to major anchor stores in order to encourage smaller retail nearby.


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