After presiding over a long and contentious battle between two juggernaut concert promoters over the right to run the Greek Theatre, Los Angeles's Department of Recreation and Parks finally realized this past spring that they'd make a lot more money just taking responsibility for the thing themselves. So they told both Live Nation and the consortium of AEG/Nederlander to scram and started a new process to find a venue manager who would simply oversee things while various concert promoters put on individual shows throughout the year. Since it's started researching this "open venue model," Rec and Parks has realized it's a way better deal and they plan to operate this way after the existing contracts run out later this year. The department's GM, Michael Shull, presented the whole scheme to an LA City Council committee this week.
Rec and Parks plans to announce on September 2 that it has chosen venue management firm SMG to run the Greek, reports the Park La Brea News; Shull's report says the company prepared a detailed proposal for the city that most of all has a lot of reassurances for neighbors—the wealthy residents who live near the Greek demand little noise, little trash, little traffic, and little trouble. SMG, in turn, will work with Rec and Parks on day to day operations of the Greek, while individual concerts will be put on by promoters. (The report says they've already gotten 250 applications for the 2016 season since the calendar opened in mid-July.)
The best part, though, is that this way of doing things will make a lot of money for the budget-cutting Department of Recreation and Parks—they'll get 40 percent of the food and beverage revenue, 75 percent of box seats and sponsorship, and 100 percent of parking money. Under the plan now, with Nederlander as a private operator, they get six percent of all of that. The report says they expect somewhere between $3 million and $4.8 million with the Greek as an open venue.
The worst part, however, is that both Live Nation and AEG/Nederlander promised to pour a lot of money into much-needed upgrades and renovations to the 1929 theater. Instead, Rec and Parks is working with the city's Bureau of Engineering and an outside architecture/preservation firm on "addressing deferred maintenance ofthe existing deteriorated structural supports of the elevated seating [and] restoring the Greek Theatre's front facade back to its original character that did not include the two (2) large digital marquees." They'll replace the marquees with smaller version attached the box office and do some painting, reflooring, and other "modest" work.
The City Council committee will continue discussing the matter after Rec and Parks officially announces their pick in September, but the contract should be set in October, when the existing operations contract runs out.
· Rec and Parks responds to Ryu motion on Greek Theatre [Park La Brea News]
· Los Angeles Just Going to Run the Greek Theatre Itself [Curbed LA]