Will Amsterdam Turn Off The Red Light?
"Last week one of the main entrepreneurs in the city's perfectly legal sex industry cashed in, selling his properties in the district. The buyer, for $35 million, was a not-for-profit organization backed by the city of Amsterdam. The plan is to convert the buildings in which prostitutes pose in the windows into apartments and more conventional commercial space."
"From a strictly entrepreneurial point of view, this is not a good investment. The buyers reckon that the value of the properties may fall by $21 million, a deficit that the municipality would have to fund. But for the city elders, that may be the price of transforming the old city center, which they say has become clogged with undesired and outright criminal activities."
"City Hall's drive to clean up the streets has been going on for some time, but last week's property buy-out marks a major escalation - it will eliminate one third of the prostitution rooms in the red light district, and one fifth of those citywide. Nor is this likely to be the last buyout."