Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Amphitheater Offer Cuts Risk Noise Control Part of City's Draft

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Amphitheater Offer Cuts Risk Noise Control Part of City's Draft

Article excerpt

Jacksonville Mayor John Delaney's staff has put together a

proposed amphitheater deal for Metropolitan Park that would try

to limit the city's financial risks and prevent noise problems.

City Hall yesterday released copies of a draft agreement

with Cellar Door Cos., a Fort Lauderdale-based concert promoter

that has been negotiating for months to run the proposed

city-owned amphitheater.

Cellar Door would only make money in the deal if the

amphitheater is profitable and the city's expenses -- including

more than $1 million a year in bond repayments -- are covered,

according to the draft.

"There is no guaranteed management fee," said Rick Mullaney,

the mayor's chief of staff and lead negotiator on the project.

"They don't get paid unless there are net revenues [profits]."

It's unclear whether Cellar Door supports the draft.

Mullaney said the Mayor's Office and Cellar Door have not

reached agreement on a deal. A.J. Wasson, a Cellar Door official

who is working on the project, could not be reached for comment.

Any deal between Delaney and Cellar Door would require City

Council approval.

The Mayor's Office has been working for the past year on the

proposed amphitheater, which would cost up to $20 million and

hold as many as 17,000 people. Supporters say it would allow

Jacksonville to draw big-name performers who now bypass the city

because of inadequate facilities.

But the project has drawn opposition, particularly from

nearby residents who fear it would flood their neighborhoods

with noise. Questions also have been raised about the financial

viability of the project and whether it would attract lewd and

obscene acts.

Myrtice Craig, a St. Nicholas resident and outspoken opponent

of the project, said she couldn't comment about the draft

because she had not seen it. St. Nicholas, which is across the

St. Johns River from the proposed site, could be hit by noise

from the amphitheater.

Under the draft, Cellar Door would receive a five-year

contract to manage the facility. It would be required to promote

at least 25 major concerts a year. Other groups, such as the

Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra, also would hold events, as they

do now at Metropolitan Park.

The 77-page draft outlines a number of ways the amphitheater

could bring in money, including ticket sales, concessions,

naming rights of the amphitheater and sponsorships. …

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