OWNER ENVISIONS ADJOINING HOTEL TO BENEFIT HOMELESS
To hear Steve Down tell it, The Falls Event Center is just the beginning for him in Roseville.
The center, which opened Jan. 28 at 240 Conference Center Drive and had its ribbon-cutting on Wednesday, hosts a mix of corporate and social events. There’s a large ballroom, a patio and a small theater on-site.
There’s also space nearby where Down, 59, says he would like to build something that could make a difference for homeless people locally.
“My legacy is what I call ‘cause capitalism,’” Down said.
The idea with cause capitalism is that Down’s various for-profit businesses partner with local nonprofits. Down said the new Roseville center, for instance, will partner with four nonprofits in the area. Nonprofits also get a discount to use his space on weekends, and can get free use Monday through Thursday.
Close to the events center, Down would like to build Steve’s Hotel which, for every room booked, would donate an equivalent amount for a homeless individual to get shelter for the evening.
Down said his philosophy comes from having faced personal adversity in his life, though he didn’t elaborate on what it was.
In July 2016, The Oregonian reported that the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission accused Down in 1996 of operating a pyramid scheme through a company he owned at the time. The paper noted that a judge ruled there was insufficient evidence to prove the allegations, though Down accepted a two-year ban from some securities-related activities.
“If you want to find something negative, it’s the one and only negative thing that I’m aware of on the Internet,” Down told The Oregonian.
Wednesday, Down spoke of the opportunity he saw in the Sacramento region.
“People who visit from outside, we say this is the best-kept secret in the country,” said Down, who also runs an events center in Elk Grove and bases corporate operations out of Salt Lake City.
He added, “We’ve fallen in love with Roseville. We want Roseville to fall in love with us.”
Roseville councilmen Scott Alvord and John Allard attended Wednesday’s ribbon cutting, along with Mayor Susan Rohan. Down said he discussed his plan with one of them during the event.
His hotel could make a difference in Roseville, where 250 to 300 homeless people reside, according to an estimate from Keith Diederich, CEO of the city’s mobile homeless shelter, The Gathering Inn. Diederich made this estimate during the recent point-in-time count of all unsheltered people in the city, as required by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
At a recent Roseville City Council meeting, Diederich and representatives from other local nonprofits vied for about $430,000 in funding for homeless services from the city. The city also maintains an affordable housing voucher system, which it claims has seen 100 percent usage in recent months.
Down said his hotel, which would feature 130 rooms and a four-star rating, is at least two to three years from being built and will need to go through the environmental review process. A similar hotel he intends to operate near Portland, Oregon filed its LLC paperwork in January, according to an Internet search.
Down said if his Roseville hotel is “not operating in about two to three years, it’s not going to happen.”
Down said he financed the events center privately. A Roseville spokesperson confirmed that no city money went into the center.
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