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Roanoke Amphitheater

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http://www.roanoke.com/news/roanoke/wb/129564

This article from the Times yesterday is a little concerning if you are a supporter of an amphitheater in the area. I'm a fan of the river site, and I think Red Light would be great to manage the project. They've done a great job in Charlottesville and I would think if they could offer a double shot of Roanoke and Charlottesville to acts, they'd be able to get even more acts to come to town.

Hopefully this project will move forward. I think it could be a terrific asset to the Valley.

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The river site is a great spot for a music facility. Unfortunately a majority of council wants to severly limit the size of shows there. If they were to chose a design similar to Chicago's Pritzker Park Pavilion, the Site development would be far cheaper, and the capacity would be many times higher. Say 40,000 overflow capacity.

Instead, the current proposal is in the 7000 range. With an amphitheater design on that site, massive amounts of fill will be needed to construct the tiered design, and there will be little or no overflow capacity. That is unless council wants to create an overflow field around the amphitheater by filling the entire area with 20 to 30 ft of fill.

I think everyone can envision what I'm talking about. When you go to an amphitheater, your seat is higher the farther you are from the stage. Any overflow area has to be at least as high as the highest tier of the amphitheater.

What we're likely to end up with is a 12 million (probably more) amphitheater that holds about 7,000 people. A simplified version of Pritzker Park Pavilion would cost far less and have at least 5 times the capacity.

Furthermore the flat field in a Pritzker style design would be available for many other uses, including park space. The amphitheater would sit empty except for during these entertainment events.

Here's an idea. Copy the strategy council adopted with the trolleys. Put up a portable stage on the river site and hold some concerts there. Get an idea of the logistics and economics of holding events there. Then decide what type of permanant facility is warranted, based on the results of the test run.

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Frankly, the concept of an amphitheatre in Roanoke does not inspire me. If the sole purpose of such a venue is to provide the citizens a place to celebrate the "4th of July" festivities then I feel it will be a waste of time and effort. Its a nice concept of sitting under the stars in the summer, but realistically how many profitable concerts are possible here? What happens to the acitivity around Elmwood Park and downtown if the concerts are eliminated there? I think the amphitheatre should be tabled, like the trolley cars for some future date. We should focus on our downtown first. Downtown Roanoke has a re:development plan to remake the Market building, improve sidewalks,

encourage housing. As the Roanoke Times said recently, lets get on the same page as it relates to economic development. Remember, Roanoke City is an independent city surrounded by counties whose citizens do not pay a dime toward the construction of an amphitheatre, our zoo, transportation museum, etc. Its up to the citizens of Roanoke City to pay the bill in hopes these venues will be successful. Thats the crazy Virginia concept of city/county government that will never change.

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I think the river site is very good as long as they build it in the style mclawsdrive outlined. If it is a stadium type venue, then that is a bad area. Stick that type of facility in one of the parking lots downtown if that is what is going to be built....NOT Elmwood park, the only significant greenspace that exists in the middle of downtown.

I think there is potential for this to hold more events than just the 4th celebration. Victory Stadium as a crappy facility was a major detractor. I also don't this this will compete with small festivals held in Elmwood Park. When you only expect a few hundred people to show up, it would be pretty ridiculous to book the amphitheater. This will be for major concert events. We are lacking an up to date facility for that currently. Keep the stage at Elmwood park and the festivals can continue to operate in their current state. I also think it is time to expand the definition of downtown as extending from Roanoke Memorial to the Hotel Roanoke. The more the Jefferson corridor is developed, the more of a reality this will become. The regular shuttle next year will go a long way toward making that happen. This could be a significant part of that extension as well.

At any rate, doesn't look like this will happen without private developer money and they are not currently lining up with proposals. I agree that we need to find ways to gain revenue from non city residents. The fees for parking were one idea, but you saw what kind of backlash that was met with. I didn't buy the argument for a minute that $2 would keep people from coming downtown. If it did, they weren't spending any money there anyway. Perhaps a small tax on goods and food purchased downtown? It's a balancing act to find revenue generators that don't drive people away.

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If Roanoke does not have a meal tax, it might be a good idea. We pay 10% on a meal within Richmond City Limits, a penny of which goes to the performing arts foundation to build and improve facilities. Surrounding counties' meal tax is about 6%. There is, however, a regional hotel room tax of about 10% to help pay off the Greater Richmond Convention Center.

Contrary to early fears and the proliferation of dining options in the new suburban shopping centers, restaurants in the city are doing just fine -- maybe better than ever. Ask McLaw, who recently did a gig with his new band at Capital Ale House Music Hall. He knows. :thumbsup:

Besides, unless I'm mistaken, Roanoke's restaurant competition in adjoining counties is less than overwhelming.

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but realistically how many profitable concerts are possible here? What happens to the acitivity around Elmwood Park and downtown if the concerts are eliminated there?

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I just hope it gets built wherever they decide and not just debated for years.

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If Roanoke does not have a meal tax, it might be a good idea. We pay 10% on a meal within Richmond City Limits, a penny of which goes to the performing arts foundation to build and improve facilities. Surrounding counties' meal tax is about 6%. There is, however, a regional hotel room tax of about 10% to help pay off the Greater Richmond Convention Center.

Contrary to early fears and the proliferation of dining options in the new suburban shopping centers, restaurants in the city are doing just fine -- maybe better than ever. Ask McLaw, who recently did a gig with his new band at Capital Ale House Music Hall. He knows. :thumbsup:

Besides, unless I'm mistaken, Roanoke's restaurant competition in adjoining counties is less than overwhelming.

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Apparently there have been about 6 proposals for building and managing a new amphitheater, but the city isn't releasing any details. The following article describes the anticipations of downtown club owners and area musicians, who feel that a new quality venue that attracts top national acts would have a spillover effect for the music scene overall. One inaccuracy- the article describes the proposed location at the old Victory Stadium site as being 2 miles away from Gunther O'Darby's. It is actually about 6,100 ft away, which is 1.15 miles away. full story

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Looks like I wasn't the only one to kind of disappear from the boards here for awhile. :ph34r:

From a couple weeks ago the latest is to build it downtown. That would be my preference and to come up with another more outdoorsy type use that's not just limited to soccer for the former Victory Stadium site.

The design proposal for the amphitheater is pretty cool. I doubt it will be built anytime soon though. Give it another 10-15 years. This is Roanoke after all.

http://www.wsls.com/sls/news/local/article...erve_ave/32640/

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http://www.roanoke.c...anoke/wb/129564

This article from the Times yesterday is a little concerning if you are a supporter of an amphitheater in the area. I'm a fan of the river site, and I think Red Light would be great to manage the project. They've done a great job in Charlottesville and I would think if they could offer a double shot of Roanoke and Charlottesville to acts, they'd be able to get even more acts to come to town.

Hopefully this project will move forward. I think it could be a terrific asset to the Valley.

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