HPU president weighs in on stadium latest

HIGH POINT, N.C. -- Dr. Nido Qubein is a man of many mantras, but the businessman and president of High Point University has a strong opinion on risk when it comes to life.

"If you take risk out of life, you simply take opportunity out of life," he said.

He sees great opportunity in High Point's plan for a multi-purpose baseball stadium to anchor economic growth downtown.

"The whole notion was to create a destination that would attract people to downtown High Point and create energy," Dr. Qubein said.

He also pledged to bring $38 million in donations to the table to create a children's museum, educational cinema, events center, playgrounds and a park to that area, on top of being a catalyst for retailers, apartments and a hotel.

The stadium itself would be a mix of public and private investments. The city has already put down $15 million to buy the land, but still needs $30 million in bonds to build the stadium. That's where Guilford County Commissioners come in.

Some commissioners are concerned with the financing for the project, and want to vet it more before making a commitment. There are also concerns that if the stadium project fails, the taxpayers will suffer the most.

The city is asking the county to forgo any extra property tax revenue generated by that area of town to pay back the bond over the next 20 years.

"The commissioners are fine people, they're trying to do their job in the best way they know how," Dr. Qubein said. "The risk lies with the notion of doing nothing, and watching real estate values continue to decline."

Since 2008, that section of the city has lost more than $250 million in property value.  Dr. Qubein argues if that trend continues, the taxpayers would suffer.

"If real estate values are enhanced, the county benefits," Dr. Qubein said. "If real estate values continue to decline, the county gets hurt."

Dr. Qubein plans on updating the community on his fundraising efforts this Wednesday. Meanwhile, County Commissioners will meet Thursday and plan on setting a date for a public hearing on the project later this month.