March 13 2013 12:00 AM

Study sees $5.75 million a year in new spending; higher-end shopping needed

Monday, Nov. 5 — An economic impact study to be released this week by Michigan State University projects $5.75 million annually in new spending from 150,000 visitors a year to the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum.

The study, by the Anderson Economic Group, looked at businesses and attractions in the local market and found them not ready for prime time.

“The museum is likely to attract visitors with relatively high incomes, high levels of education and tastes and preferences that are more refined and upscale rather than the casual visitor base East Lansing establishments focus on today,” it reads.

Jason Meyers, communications director of the Broad Museum, shared some of the findings with City Pulse today.

The study trumpeted a big opportunity for upscale retail and restaurants, “boutiques with high-quality collectibles and gifts” and higher-end hotels.

Of the 150,000 expected visitors, 30,000 would be new to the area. Those new visitors are expected to spend an average of $82 a day, adding up to $2.46 million in new restaurant, retail and other spending.

Another 60,000 people would have made the visit to the area anyway, but are expected to extend their stay to go to the Broad, spending $2.16 million more. The remaining 60,000 would make no impact because they are going to the Broad instead of some other attraction in the area.

About 15,000 visitors are expected to stay in a hotel for one night, generating $1.12 million in new spending.

In all, the museum is projected to generate $5.75 million in new spending a year from shopping, entertainment, retail, lodging, food and gas.

To arrive at these numbers, analysts drew upon a variety of sources, from reader demographics of art and architecture magazines to surveys of MSU alumni.

They also looked at museums operating “in similar markets or targeting similar audiences,” including the Detroit Institute of Arts, Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, Grand Rapids Art Museum, the Holocaust Memorial Center in Farmington Hills, the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, Crystal Bridges Museum in Bentonville, Ark., and the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts.

The analysts drew up a demographic profile of the target audience “most likely to be drawn to a contemporary art museum designed by a leading contemporary architect.” A database of over 1,000 demographic and economic variables helped them find likely visitors within 90 minutes (a day trip) and visitors from farther away, who would stay in the area for the night.