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Huber Heights to begin negotiations with management company for $18M music center

Huber Heights officials are expected to begin negotiations on a contract this week with Music and Event Management, Inc. to manage the city’s $18 million music center.

Rob Schommer, Huber Heights interim city manager, said the city is confident an agreement will be reached with MEMI, and the process should take “weeks, not months.”

“We want to move quickly, but we certainly don’t want to rush anything,” Schommer said. “Everybody’s eager, anxious and has the same mindset. We’re certain we will iron out the details needed to formalize a contract.”

Schommer said it’s “way premature at this point” to know what the cost will be to contract with MEMI because of a wide range of variables, from concessions to who is responsible to mow the grass.

City officials previously said the money to pay for a management company will come from the revenue the music center generates.

“The more they market and more they bring in, the more they can make,” Schommer said. “(For the cost to) climb above $100,000, $200,000 is certainly not uncommon at all for this size and type of facility.”

Huber Heights had two consulting agreements with MEMI in 2013 totaling $25,000. The city also was considering VenuWorks, based in Iowa, and SMG, whose corporate headquarters are in suburban Philadelphia.

MEMI — a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra — manages Riverbend Music Center, the PNC Pavilion and the Taft Theatre. Huber Heights is modeling its music center after the PNC Pavilion.

Schommer said MEMI continues to provide advice and consulting during the music center construction and development. MEMI is not being paid for those services, he said.

Michael Smith, executive vice president and CEO of MEMI, did not return a message seeking comment.

“We like their approach and understanding that this is a city-owned community facility,” Schommer said. “Their success rate is very good in holding events and they have experience with this type of facility.”

According to a Conventions, Sports & Leisure study, the city projects to collect a $400,000 profit annually — following management, maintenance, advertising and utility costs — after two full seasons of events.

Construction of the 4,500-seat covered music center is expected to be completed by late summer 2014.

Project manager Ken Conaway said the frigid temperatures last week prevented construction workers from pouring concrete, but they are “working around the winter weather.”

The 10 concrete columns that form the primary structure for the steel roof system are projected to be completed within the next two weeks.

“It’s going as planned and we’re still fine on the completion date,” Conaway said.

The site is on 33.6 acres of land along the south side of Executive Boulevard, west of Meijer near the Interstate 70 and Ohio 201 interchange.

The property is being prepared for both the music center and GoodSports Enterprises’ proposed $22 million fieldhouse/hotel. The music center will be at the west end of the property, with the fieldhouse between it and Meijer.

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