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Raleigh, promoter sign deal for downtown amphitheater

Posted November 30, 2009
Updated December 1, 2009

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— City officials have reached a deal with concert promoter LiveNation to bring acts to an outdoor concert venue slated for downtown.

The city has eyed the site across McDowell Street from the new convention center as a potential amphitheater for several years. A previous plan to split the cost of a giant tent for the site with LiveNation fell through, and the recession hampered negotiations on booking acts for the proposed venue.

The City Council on Tuesday shift $2.6 million of existing funds into accounts so contractors could be hired to construct seating for 4,200 people on the grassy slope. The amphitheater also will have standing room for another 800 people.

"This is one of those things that will bring people to our city, particularly in the summer when we need them here," Mayor Charles Meeker said. "It will help make the town more lively. It's not the only thing going on, but it's one of many things happening."

LiveNation will bring 15 to 20 shows a year to Raleigh for at least five years, and the city will use the venue for several local shows as well, Meeker said. The facility could generate a $500,000 a year profit, City Manager Russell Allen said.

Allen said the amphitheater would be comparable to one in Chastain Park in Atlanta. Raleigh plans to use a portable stage to keep construction costs down, he said.

Grading on the site and portable buildings on the south and west sides of the site should limit noise from the amphitheater reaching nearby residential neighborhoods, according to a consultant's report.

"This kind of entertainment is one kind of city service that actually pays for itself," Meeker said. "This facility will pay for itself in four to five years, and after that will be revenue producer for the city."

11 Comments

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  • Dark of the Moon Dec 1, 2009

    This is a two sided coin. Raleigh really needs to do something to improve its downtown and make people want to venture in and spend money. The more they can demolish the old and rundown areas and put up new and shiny, the better. I am all for it. However, one must question the timing during the great recession of 2009. I can think of many other things Raleigh should do with the money now, like fix the awful roads they have.

    A very good friend of mine, NRG, is one of these very left wing liberals that just thinks we can spend, spend and spend with no end in sight. Some people may feel that is the right way to go, but most do not. We must be tolerant and open minded of people with differing views. Now I agree 100% with NRG that Raleigh needs a big makeover to improve its image, but is now really the time?

    Only time will tell.

    Charlton Dude

  • Phrostbite Dec 1, 2009

    I think a venue of this size(4,500) & location will be perfect for Raleigh. I'd also build something smaller in the Briar Creek area.

  • ech Dec 1, 2009

    I thought we were in a tax Deficient? Where is that 2 million dollars coming from. Government don't you just love it.
    We don't have enough money to educated the students so we are going to raise your taxes. we don't have enough money to build roads so we are going to raise your taxes. There are too many unemployed people not paying taxes so we are going to raise the needed money by taxing who is working even more. we have too many people without health insurance so the people that can barley afford it we are going to raise your taxes to pay for the people that can't afford it. tax ,tax, tax spend, spend, spend that is all we have for Government anymore. A bunch of freeloaders spending our hard earned money.

  • cary1969 Dec 1, 2009

    Walnut Creek, Koka Booth, RBC Center, Carter Finley, Memorial Auditorium, Meredith Park, and Moore St Square. DO we really need another tax payer funded venue to compete with all these others? I'd like to see one day where all were booked and Raleigh lost a concert because of it. Never happened and never will.

  • bill0 Dec 1, 2009

    NH Mom - you are way off base with your assessment of the area. There is a large parking deck directly across the street. It is almost 100% government parking, so after 5pm it is empty. Pretty much every other deck clears out by 6pm. If you want to come downtown on a Friday night for a concert, it is super easy.

    Also, the new R line (free bus) runs within a block of here, so you could park anywhere and then just jump on the shuttle.

    Anyway, great job again Mr Meeker. When I moved here 10 years ago, downtown was virtually empty after 5pm. Now, there are thriving districts and the "nice" areas expand every year.

  • pappy1 Dec 1, 2009

    Hopefully this will serve as vibrant spot for aspiring rap lyricists and hip-hop artists to showcase their abilities and to inspire youngsters to follow in their footsteps.

  • NH Mom Dec 1, 2009

    Parking? Has anyone thought of parking? There are not enough parking spaces downtown for the businesses currently there. Trying to bring more people downtown without increasing parking will never work. First build parking decks!

    Can the city draw enough acts to support another concert venue? We already have Walnut Creek, RBC Center, Carter Finley, Memorial Auditorium, Meymandi Hall, and that great white elephant, The Raleigh Convention Center. Not to mention Koka Booth Amphitheatre in Cary.

  • trailer_trash Dec 1, 2009

    Maybe they will get Randy Parton to run it !!!

  • town guy Dec 1, 2009

    As a music lover, I think this is great. It's also great that it's downtown, not out in the sticks somewhere.

  • wattsun Nov 30, 2009

    So there goes Raleigh trying to copy Charlotte Again.

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