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Montgomery County & Live Nation Sign Lease to Bring Live Music, Entertainment & Community Use Venue to Downtown Silver Spring; Substantial Annual Cash Profit to Public Estimated
Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett announced today that Montgomery County and Live Nation have reached agreement on a lease that will create a dynamic new music, entertainment, and community use venue in downtown Silver Spring, a move that will dramatically bolster economic development and the music scene for that community and the County as a whole.
The new music hall will preserve the historic façade of the old J.C. Penney store site on Colesville Road owned by the Lee Development Group – a site vacant for 18 years -- and build a modern, new music and community use venue behind it.
“The County’s vision is to bring a dynamic, first-class music, entertainment, and community use venue to Silver Spring in the former J.C. Penney building,” said Leggett. “We want to bring Silver Spring revitalization across Colesville Road and Georgia Avenue. We want more customers for Silver Spring businesses and restaurants. Today, we are delivering on that vision.
“This location will create a dynamic center of music and entertainment with the American Film Institute and the restored Silver Theater directly across the street. We are joining forces with Live Nation to create an exciting new forum to bring live music to Silver Spring and to all our County residents.
With Live Nation, we are partnering with a first-class company with a successful track record for bringing the very best to music lovers.”
Silver Spring Forward, the grassroots citizens’ organization promoting revitalization of Silver Spring, also voiced support.
“Silver Spring Forward’s central message all along is that the downtown revitalization is not done,” said co-leader Alan Friedman. “This is a huge step in creating a sparkling entertainment district for the region.”
The State of Maryland and Montgomery County will contribute $4 million each – for a total $8 million in public investment -- toward the cost of building the facility, which will be owned by the County.
Live Nation will not receive any County or State funding.
An economic impact analysis done by the County’s Department of Finance shows an annual cost to the State and County on projected bond issues as approximately $355, 000 and annual direct and indirect income to the State and County from sales, income, beverage, fuel, and other taxes, as well as rent, as about $1,067,000. This results in a net annual profit to the public of $712,000.
When the value of Live Nation’s improvements to the County-owned building and Live Nation’s ongoing and structural maintenance work are included – as well as the value of community use and Live Nation community contributions – the net benefit to the public increases by another $951,000 to a total net public benefit annually of about $1,663,000.
“The name Fillmore resonates with music fans and world class artists alike as one of the most distinctive venues in live music,” said Live Nation Washington, DC vice-president Ted Mankin. “We expect that a diverse group of artists from all over the world will come to Silver Spring to play the Fillmore. Partnering with AFI, Discovery, and others, we are going to make things happen in Silver Spring that are happening nowhere else in the country.”
Live Nation brings superior capabilities to book and produce premier music performances and has committed in the lease to bring events “that are balanced so as to ensure a reasonably proportioned blend of cultural experiences included varied types of music and live performances appealing to the varied tastes of the population including, without limitation, popular, rock and roll, Latin, blues, jazz, folk, and country music.”
Live Nation is the unparalleled global leader in live music entertainment, and the second-largest entertainment venue management company in the world. Live Nation and its predecessors, with their roots in the metropolitan area, have been bringing top quality talent to the DC area since 1971 through The Cellar Door and The Bayou. The company also programs the Ram’s Head, Warner Theatre, and the Nissan Pavilion. In addition, the company promotes shows in a variety of other venues in the area, including The Kennedy Center, Verizon Center, Constitution Hall, and RFK Stadium, to name a few.
Live Nation also frequently puts its expertise to work in social causes, just in the past year producing the “Live Earth” concerts in New York, London, Washington, DC, Shanghai and Hamburg; the “Concert for Diana,” in London; the Paul Simon Library of Congress concert in Washington; and the recent Virginia Tech benefit concert. The company also produced the “Pray for Peace” event at the Washington Cathedral.
Live Nation has committed to use its expertise and drawing power to help with an annual auction for charitable causes and to support programming of public events in Silver Spring through the “Celebrate Silver Spring” foundation.
Mr. Mankin said Live Nation will create a Fillmore-style music hall in Silver Spring with a variable capacity of 500 to 2,000, inspired by the original Fillmore in San Francisco, which launched the careers of such rock, soul and jazz legends as Jefferson Airplane, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Santana, Miles Davis, and Otis Redding. It will feature crystal chandeliers, hardwood floors, dark painted red walls, historic rock art posters – and the iconic barrel of complimentary apples at the door.
Leggett emphasized the multifaceted advantages of the project.
“Live Nation is an excellent partner which can provide an array of musical choices that can appeal to the diversity that is Silver Spring and the County as a whole – rock, jazz, country & western, folk, rhythm and blues, comedy, pop, children’s programming, salsa, and more. Fillmore is excited about providing just that.
“And the Fillmore in Silver Spring would have the flexibility to host stand-up, theatre seating, and events with tables and chairs. Again, we will have that flexibility.
“Community use is very important,” said Leggett. “I want a venue that the community can use when it is not otherwise programmed by Live Nation. It can be used to help accommodate our growing need for spaces in the County for graduations, concerts, public meetings, corporate functions, and much more. We have this goal in the agreement. And this space will be a nice complement to the meeting space available for groups and gatherings ranging from 40 to 500 people at the nearby Silver Spring Civic Building, projected to be completed in 2010.
“I appreciate the feedback and comments I’ve received from the community in support of our common goal to bring a new live music, entertainment, and community use venue to downtown Silver Spring. This input has been important to the process – and will remain so as we move forward.”
Among the highlights of the lease agreement are:
• Montgomery County will retain ownership of the land donated by the Lee Development Group -- at an estimated value of $3.5 million -- and of the facility. (The original Letter of Intent included an option for Live Nation to purchase the property after 16 years.)
• Live Nation will invest at least $2 million in the facility, will address any cost overruns on the project, will pay all utilities, and will assume responsibility for all upkeep and maintenance costs (saving the County about $186,000 per year) – including structural maintenance -- on the County-owned building, including for the “green roof” envisioned in the design of the building.
• Live Nation will pay $90,000 yearly in rent, indexed to increase throughout the term to total $3.26 million in rent over the term of the lease.
• There will be at least 36 free or discounted community uses of the facility annually.
• A community “Silver Spring Arts & Entertainment District Advisory Committee” will be established to advise the County Executive on community issues impacted by arts and entertainment venues, including the Fillmore. Live Nation will meet with the County throughout the lease term to discuss impacts and uses.
• Live Nation agrees that no performance will go later than 1 AM and that no alcohol will be served after 12 midnight.
• Live Nation will contribute $30,000 annually to the “Celebrate Silver Spring Foundation” for community uses for a total contribution of $600,000. It will also collect signed memorabilia from headlining performers for an annual auction to benefit Silver Spring community needs.
• All construction must meet County requirements for LEED “green building” standards.
“This is a great agreement for the County and for economic development in downtown Silver Spring,” said Bruce Lee of the Lee Development Group, which is donating the land for the project. “We are thrilled to be a part of this tremendous partnership.
Reviews, approvals, and construction are expected to take at least two years. The Fillmore is expected to open its doors to its first audience in 2010.
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|Release ID: 08-025
Media Contact: Patrick Lacefield 240-777-6507
or John Vlautin, Live Nation301-867-7127
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