Huber council to vote on management contract for $18M music center

The initial proposal called for a five-year agreement, but a 10-year arrangement establishes a stronger commitment from both sides and contains the cost for the city, Huber Heights City Manager Rob Schommer said.

According to the latest proposal, the city would pay MEMI $225,000 annually over the initial 10-year term to be the exclusive manager of the music center, which includes marketing, booking and promoting entertainment.

“We want them to be a productive member of our team,” Schommer said. “We’re creating a lasting relationship with them. We’re bringing in the best of the best to help provide services to our community through this amenity that’s going to be second to none.”

If council approves the contract, it would take effect June 15. Huber Heights would pay MEMI $80,650 June 15 through Nov. 30, according to the proposed contract.

Beginning Dec. 1, the city would pay MEMI $225,000 annually over the initial 10-year period. The money to pay for the contract would come from the general fund, city officials said.

“In 2024, we’ll be getting 2014 prices,” Councilwoman Jan Vargo said. “That’s the trade-off in my mind.”

Councilman Tyler Starline said a 10-year contract is too long because as a brand new business venture, if it doesn’t make money, “we are locked in unless we can negotiate a way out.”

Starline said he would have recommended a five-year term. The agreement will automatically renew up to three additional five-year terms unless MEMI or the city provides notice of an intent to not renew no later than 180 days of the contract expiring.

“I hope it is successful so a renewal is a foregone conclusion,” Starline said. “Sometimes you have to give up something to get something.”

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.

According to the agreement, the city would receive the first $150,000 of the annual net profit, with any additional net profit divided between the city (60 percent) and MEMI (40 percent).

Net profit would include concessions, ticket sales and venue sponsorships. The entire revenue generated by the music center’s naming rights would directly go to the city, according to the proposed contract.

In 2013, Huber Heights had two consulting agreements with MEMI, totaling $25,000.

Michael Smith, executive vice president and CEO of MEMI, declined to comment last week on the specific details of the proposed agreement because it has not been finalized.

But he said the city has been considerate of meeting the modern consumer needs, including the proximity of restrooms and concessions to seating, expansive parking lots, landscaping and convenient interstate access.

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

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