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Sunday Memphis. Get out… in the rain.
Wait. Back up. What about Saturday? We stopped in at Huey’s for a burger. I love the music at Huey’s as much as I enjoy the burgers. I mean really, where can you hear Cash or The Ramones in the same place? Soul, punk and rock, all wrapped up in a burger joint.
Love me the Huey Texas Toast burger.
Outside of Huey’s the Girl Scouts were selling cookies. Got me.
Last night I tried out Fat Jack beer by Sam Adams.
I am not a huge Sam Adams fan, but since the beer is labeled “double pumpkin”, I thought I would give the beer a go. The beer is better than I expected. Fat Jack is heavy on the pumpkin for sure. The best pumpkin beer? No. The worst? No. The beer was okay. Give Fat Jack a try.
This morning we stopped in at Coffee Town. I ordered up some coffee, a bagel, and a vanilla Coke.
It has been one million years since I have had a vanilla Coke. Oink. Coffee, vanilla Coke, coffee, vanilla Coke. Perfect.
As I was reading the paper from the Commercial Appeal, I read the article regarding the Fair Grounds and the Coliseum.
I also read the article in the latest edition of the Memphis Flyer about saving the coliseum. My take? Several.
Robert Lipscomb Memphis Director of Housing and Community Development, is quoted in the Commercial Appeal article. “What I see is a gathering place for families and kids – Memphis’ Central Park.” Hey Mr. Lipscomb, guess what. Memphis already has that, two parks by the way, Overton Park and Shelby Farms Park.
Looking at a map, Overton Park is 1.2 miles away from the fairgrounds. You want to invest city money heavily to create a family a park when one large, great park is right around the corner? Someone get this guy a map.
Also in the article, the Mid South Coliseum is described as a”beloved icon”. Really? Have you looked inside the coliseum lately? Just because the building is old, this does not translate into “beloved icon”. I worked in show business for 15 years, in city, county and private buildings, both large and small. I have worked thousands of events.
What I can state for a fact is that private buildings are much better taken care of than city, or county buildings. The reason? The city or county does not need to take care of buildings. If the building breaks down, so what? The city or county will just build another one at tax payers expense. Just look at the Agricenter International as an example.
You want to save the Mid South Coliseum?
Do you realize what you are asking? First, the entire building would have to be taken down to the studs and completely rebuilt. Sound in the Coliseum? Sound is notoriously bad in this type of building. You have to add box seats. What about that “non-compete clause” with FedEx Forum? “The big snag there is the non-compete clause in FedEx Forum’s contract with the city of Memphis. The clause says an “important element of the success of the Arena Complex is to limit direct competition” from the Coliseum or the Pyramid. It mandates any show with more than 5,000 seats is the sole property of the Forum.” Good luck selling shows with less than 5000 seats. The “non-compete clause” is a HUGE issue when it comes to the event industry.
How many years has the Coliseum Coalition members worked in city, county or private buildings? How many years have they worked live shows? My guess? Zero. But they would lead you to believe they have the answers. Marvin Stockwell, Mike McCarthy and Jordan Danelz, please enlighten us with your YEARS of expertise. You want to save the coliseum because there were wrasslin’ matches in the building? Are you kidding me? Marvin Stiockwell; “I mean [Jerry] Lawler fought Andy Kaufman there.” Wow. Wrasslin.
“A city report puts the price tag at about $32.8 million to bring the Coliseum back to working order.” To quote the story:
“But McCarthy doesn’t trust the figure.”… the Coliseum can be saved for probably $9 million or $10 million as well,” McCarthy said. “That’s not just pulling a figure out of the air.”
Yes it is. Again, the coliseum would require a total and complete interior rebuild. $9 to $10 would get you very little when it comes to construction. “Back in 2009, O.T. Marshall Architects said it would cost about $29.5 million to fix the Coliseum. They looked at everything from drywall and kitchen equipment to plumbing and sprinklers. A year later, O.T. Marshall revised the figure to about $32.8 million.” $9 million is not in the ballpark of $29 million.
“While the Coliseum is a unique building, there is physically no way a 1960s multi-functional facility could be redesigned to provide this type (a dedicated performing arts building) of venue.”
Don’t tear the building down. From the article “but it is true they don’t have a clear idea of what the Coliseum should be or even could be.” So… just keep the building and do nothing with it?
The “Save the Mid South Coliseum” leaders are just like “politicians” at best. They have opinions, but have no concrete facts or experience in event venues. They do not understand the industry or the economics. But that is okay. Many working in the event industry (my best guess 75%) do not either. If the “Save the Mid South Coliseum” leaders want to impress me, how about all three put their own money (say $30,000 each) into letting a building just sit empty while they figure out what the building could be.
Jim Strickland and Steve Basar are against the project. The city wants to build a an amateur sports complex? And the cost? Try $233 MILLION DOLLAR$ (using a mix of public and private money). I will bite. Which PRIVATE company or investor wants to contribute to this project? Name ONE. Oh that is correct, NONE. Private investors refuse to bet money on the fairground, why should the city? To quote Mr. Lipscomb, “Sometimes you have to lead”. Maybe Mr. Lipscomb should “take the lead” and contribute $20,000 of his own personal money to this fairy tale.
To wrap this post up, Mr. Lipscomb is wrong, very wrong. And “Save the Mid South Coliseum” leaders have no expertise in the industry, but want to save the coliseum for… something… like wrasslin’.
Done with rant. See YOU back here for more bikes, beers and wrasslin.