Raleigh, promoter sign deal for downtown amphitheater
Posted November 30, 2009 6:26 p.m. EST
Updated December 1, 2009 3:32 p.m. EST
Raleigh, N.C. — 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."