Local News

Raleigh Looking at Downtown Land as New Concert Venue

Posted January 3, 2008 4:24 p.m. EST
Updated January 3, 2008 6:56 p.m. EST

— A new entertainment venue for concerts and other ticketed events may be coming to downtown Raleigh, WRAL has learned. With it, city government would be dipping into the entertainment world.

Mayor Charles Meeker was talking Thursday about the city's latest idea.

“It's a new venue right downtown,” Meeker said. It would be an outdoor entertainment venue for live shows and summer concerts.

"The city is looking very actively at that," the mayor said.

The new entertainment venue would be located just across from the convention center, near McDowell Street. Right now, it’s a construction staging area for the convention center, however.

The mayor said the city’s envisioning an outdoor, amphitheater-like structure. It's thought that the new venue could bring in big named bands for ticketed concerts.

The area had been earmarked as a public space throughout planning for the area.

WRAL has been told the city may be looking for corporate sponsorship.

No blueprints are available yet, and there are no early cost estimates.

"I'm confident it will move forward,” Meeker said. “The tent cover is now here; it's being stored. The site will be available once the site at the convention center is complete - actually somewhat before - actually June or July. We should get going this summer."

The new convention center is set to open in late summer.

Harvey Schmitt, president and CEO of the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce, said a concert venue makes sense.

"As you look at the growing population, both in residents downtown and as a result of the convention center, there will be new opportunities, especially in the area of entertainment," he said.

The city held several live shows in Moore Square last summer, and Meeker said the city would like both sites to work together.

“It's still being discussed, but Moore Square and the new site next to the convention center can work together. The new site would allow ticketed events and higher level acts to come in," Meeker said.