Huber Heights, consultant agree on another contract for $18M music center

The music management company that runs three popular Cincinnati venues is being considered to manage Huber Heights’ $18 million music center.

City officials also have spoken with other management companies and hope to make a decision during the coming months.

The city has entered into a second consulting agreement with Music and Event Management, Inc. (MEMI), which manages Riverbend Music Center, the PNC Pavilion and the Taft Theatre.

MEMI will be paid $10,000 for the 45-day agreement, which went into effect Sept. 3.

As part of the agreement, if MEMI becomes the management company that runs the music center, the $10,000 fee will go toward the cost of the first year of the management relationship.

“There’s a lot of benefit in (MEMI) in that they’re relatively local and they have a lot of knowledge of the business in the area,” assistant city manager Scott Falkowski said. “We don’t see any negatives with them. We’ve got a good relationship with them already.”

MEMI is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. Michael Smith, executive vice president and CEO of MEMI, did not return a message seeking comment.

The agreement calls for MEMI to review the building plans and offer advice about how to improve the project, Falkowski said.

“This is another insurance policy for the city to try to work out the kinks before any construction starts,” he said. “We’d rather not wait until the very end.”

Falkowski said the city hopes to decide in the next couple months on a company to manage the music center. It is unknown what the cost will be, he said.

Falkowski said the city also has had discussions with VenuWorks, based in Iowa, and SMG, whose corporate headquarters are in suburban Philadelphia.

The funding for the agreement will come out of the music center’s $18 million budget, Falkowski said. In January, Huber Heights signed a two-month, $15,000 agreement with MEMI to provide guidance as the city started the project.

Site work for the music center started last month and construction on the 4,500-seat covered venue is expected to begin in early October, project manager Ken Conaway said.

Conaway said that the construction bids for the building are due Monday, and city council is expected to award the contract at its Sept. 23 meeting. The estimated cost of the venue is $10 million.

Construction is expected to be completed by late summer 2014, 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 a 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.

The square footage of the music center pavilion is 42,500. Each of the two concession stands will be 2,750 square feet, according to the site plan. The total number of parking spaces will be 2,067, with 1,500 dedicated to the music center.

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