The Kansas City Star from Kansas City, Missouri on October 18, 1996 · 17
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The Kansas City Star from Kansas City, Missouri · 17

Kansas City, Missouri
Issue Date:
Friday, October 18, 1996
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I ru rnoy October IS M best mum copy The Kansas City Star DOW JONES NASDAQ AMEX 30-YEAR T-BOND YIELD New degree Keller Graduate School of Management plans' to offer a master’s degree in telecommunications management 1 beginning in February B-2 Voters are too comfy to listen In the unlikely event Bob Dole can persuade President Clinton to engage in a third presidential campaign debate Dole should avoid talking about the economy What he failed to acknowledge when preparing for Wednesday night’s face-off is that most Americans don’t consider the economy a pressing issue Most apparently are just comfortable enough to believe this expansion is strong enough to meet their long-term economic needs This is not the case of course but President Ginton will be well into his second term before most Americans understand this President Clinton is a very good politician Perhap more important though he’s a lucky politician Just as the economy was improving in 1992 too late to boost President Bush’s re-election prospects the economy is now turning down too late to hurt Ginton by offering visible validation of Dole’s warning of economic weakness The second quarter it appears was the last loud hurrah for this recovery and expansion which began in the spring of 1991 Gross domestic product grew at an annual rate of 47 percent from April through June which was the best growth spurt in two years Some analysts feared this signaled an overheating economy that would prompt the Federal Reserve to tighten monetary with an interest rate ost Such fears appear increasingly unfounded The preliminary GDP report for the third period is due the day before Halloween and estimates of what it’s expected to show shrink from week to week Earlier this month the consensus call was for an annual expansion pace of 2 percent but many experts have since trimmed their forecasts to 15 percent A few have even pre: dieted third quarter growth at only slightly better than 1 percent which is flirting with recession The good news is that wobbly GDP numbers will relieve a lot of anxiety over whether the Fed is still pondering an interest rate hike for after the elections The bad news is that without a significant rebound during the fourth quarter’s holiday shopping season the economic outlook for 1997 begins to appear very bleak The advent of a weakening and possibly recessionary economy shouldn’t come as a surprise This up cycle is well past its fifth birthday and thus one of the longest of the post-war era Prospects for its rejuvenation are remote because the Fed is still the most critical element of the growth mix As long as central bank policy-makers consider slow growth the key to controlling inflation the economy will be kept at the historically low growth rate of only about 2 percent to 25 percent Somebody once said they’d rather be right than president Dole will probably be proved right about the economy being in worse shape than most people' think Meanwhile it’s looking more and more like he won’t be president because timing as they say is everything In Dole’s case his exhortations for a growth-boosting tax cut won’t translate into the votes necessary for victory because few Americans realize how close the economy is to the precipice The irony is that federal fiscal problems would be significantly ameliorated by the strong revenue gains that could be expect- I ed from robust economic growth Tamping growth how-I ever means making it harder for ) Uncle Sam to deal with the now and future funding challenges posed by Social Security and Medicare Jerry Heaster's column appears Wednesday Friday Saturday and Sunday To share a comment call (816) 889-7827 and enter 2301 Send e-mail including a telephone number to cstarcom Watts Mill Cinema closes Move is pari off a plan to bring seven other movie theaters out of bankruptcy By STEVE EVERLY Stall Writer Watts Mill Cinema in south Kansas City shut its doors this week as part of a plan to bring a group of area theaters out of bankruptcy ' the dosing came after both former and current managers told a bankruptcy trustee the theater didn’t do enough business to cover costs and was not likely to do so in the future “It lost a lot of money” said Bill Burnett a vice president for Dickinson Theatres which was chosen last month to operate the eight movie houses under a Chapter 1 1 bankruptcy proceeding involving the theaters’ owner Cinema Ventures Corp A Chapter 1 1 filing provides protection from creditors while a company reorganizes its operations Bruce Strauss the bankruptcy trustee said Watts Mill Cinema was doomed in part when many other theaters opened in the area The theater leased 12190 square feet on 103rd Street near State Line Road Lease payments were $8246 a month according to Bankruptcy Court records Only Watts Mill Cinema among the eight theaters involved in the bankruptcy case is scheduled to close Strauss said The others continue to show movies They are Blue Springs Cinema Blue Ridge Cinema East Blue Ridge Cinema West Seville Square Cinema See WATTS B-8 Col 4 Watts Mill Cinema patrons found the theater shut down this week this is only a test A “shakedown cruise" Thursday gave Missouri gambling regulators a chance to evaluate operations at the Hilton Flamingo Casino One comer of the gambling hall at left is packed with slot machines Tina Dameron below got the ball ready to spin in a roulette wheel A state investigation had forced Hilton to postpone plans to open the casino in late August Photo by KEVIN ANDERSONThe Star Flamingo aims to open today Hilton casino conducts test of its operations in advance of state decision this morning By RICK ALM and KEITH CHROSTOWSKI Stall Writers The Hilton Flamingo Casino strutted its stuff Thursday at a test gaming session for state regulators and is set to open at noon today The Missouri Gaming Commission which delayed the opening of the casino for nearly two months while investigating questionable links between Hilton Hotels Corp and former Kansas City Port Authority Chairman Elbert Anderson will meet by telephone at 10 am today to consider a final go-ahead If commissioners approve as expected the glitzy riverboat by the Paseo Bridge will be issued a gaming license and hold a public ribbon-cutting at noon Thursday’s long-awaited “shakedown cruise” appeared to go smoothly with a giant stuffed pink flamingo greeting the VIP guests that the casino had invited to test its slot machines dealers and money handlers with play money Also during the test cruise monitored by See CASINO B-5 Col 1 Clothier seeks aid in court lP Todds menswear chain files for federal bankruptcy protection from creditors By JOYCE SMITH Stall Writer A longtime Kansas City men’s clothier JP Todds Inc has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection from its creditors while it reorganizes The company which owns nine area stores under five different names plans to regroup by trimming its operations Bankruptcy filings listed assets of $14 million and liabilities of nearly $3 million JP Todds’ restructuring could include changing merchandise closing some locations or laying off some of its 57 employees Alan Jerwick son of the company’s cofounder said the men’s clothing market had changed in the last two years as men have moved to more- casual wear JP Todds made some effort to pursue that market but also wagered that the industry would shift back to more classic clothing The Jerwicks have been working closely with Van Dorn Retail Management Inc a New York retail consulting firm for the See MENSWEAR B4 Col 1 The area jobless rate dipped to 35 percent in September Story B-2 Esreysees no reason to depart By MARTIN ROSENBERG Stall Writer Sprint Corp Chairman William T Esrey in a note to employees Thursday reiterated that he has no plans to move to rival longdistance giant AT&T “First off let me tell you that nothing could be further from the truth” Esrey wrote in a note congratulating employees for Sprint’s strong third-quarter financial results Industry observers had speculated this week that Esrey was among a handful of business executives being considered for AT&T’s presidency and possibly the chairmanship in the future Sprint immediately denied the rumor and noted that Esrey’s contract at Sprint bars him from working for a competitor for 18 months after leaving ny But such a move is not even under consideration Esrey wrote Esrey employees “I cannot envision any set of circumstances that would cause me to want to leave our company” he wrote “I can’t express it better than a CNBC commentator who said Analysts would be amazed if Esrey is interested in leaving the company he helped build to lead its far-clumsier rival’ “We’ve built a dynamic company togh-er We are the fastest-growing major telecommunications company our future is brighter and we are better: positioned than any of our competitors And the best is yet to come” Developer of Leawood shopping center seeks lender Town Center Plaza also is looking for tenants for third and final phase of project By JOE GOSE Stall Writer As workers continue to complete Town Center Plaza’s physical structure the project’s developers are trying to tie up behind-the-scenes details Poag & McEwen of Memphis Tenn developer of the 750000-square-foot shopping center in Leawood is searching for a longterm lender Poag & McEwen currently has a $43 million short-term construction loan out on the project that comes due in more than a year RREEF Funds a pension fund adviser also had contributed financing and had be- come a partner with Poag & McEwen in the $100 million project But after selling all of the pad sites surrounding the main block of stores the developer is ready to go it alone “What we want to do is find a lender that will take out Wells Fargo and RREEF and leave us as the sole owner” said Terry McEwen a principal of Poag & McEwen “There are a half-dozen people we’re working with right now to do that” McEwen would not identify the potential financiers but said the most likely lender in this scenario would come from Wall Street McEwen also said a pension fund recently offered to buy the project but the developer turned down the offer However selling Town Center in the future wouldn’t stray from Poag & McEwen’s typical practice The developer sold two other projects it had developed in Omaha Neb and Memphis after eight years of ownership In the event of a sale he said Poag & SeePEVELOPER B-8 BEVERLY BYNUMm Star Town Center Plaza tenants on the south side of the mall facing 119th Street (right side of photo) report good business traffic North-side tenants have been hampered by Col j construction projects but look forward to the holiday shopping season

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