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Monthly Archives: December 2012

City Council supports Krug Park plans to expand the amphitheater to hold 23,000 people

Potential developers of Krug Park now have initial approval from the city.

The City Council on Monday voted to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Krug Park Development, LLC to explore the possibility of redeveloping the historic park. It passed with eight votes — council member Pat Jones was absent.

 Developers, led by Jeremiah Reeves, an heir of Henry Krug Sr., wish to create a world-class amphitheater at Krug Park that would attract modern theater and musical acts. Mr. Reeves said the amphitheater could support 25,000 people, book 32 shows per year, and generate an estimated $100 million a year.

The MOU signed by the council Monday simply says the idea has support from the city, giving developers a chance to proposition potential investors of the project.

As part of the memorandum, developers must create a detailed business plan and concept proposal at their own expense. Any further discussion of concepts or plans will be done through the City Council and with public input.

Monday’s council meeting held nearly 90 residents who had the opportunity to express their interest in Krug Park’s possible redevelopment.

Many of those who spoke up, most of whom were neighbors of Krug Park, were highly in favor of the developer’s plan, not only for the economic boost it could bring to the area, but as a chance to rejuvenate a park that is vital to St. Joseph’s history.

“Krug Park is unique and different,” said Joe Houts, resident. “Not every city this size has an opportunity like this knocking on their door.”

Two women, both members of Friends of Krug Park, expressed concerns about the lack of clarity in the developer’s plans and asked the council to wait until more details were presented. They specifically addressed concerns about alcohol in the park, which was prohibited in the deed from Henry Krug Sr.

Mr. Reeves said while many details of the plan are not yet known, there would be strict rules regarding alcohol during events. The park would not allow open containers on other occasions.

Any other concerns regarding noise control, parking and traffic flow would be discussed as more detailed plans develop. There is even a possibility of leaving the current amphitheater intact and developing a new venue in the northwest corner of the park, Mr. Reeves said, adding that all of those are details dependent on the signing of the MOU, as well as investor support.

Members of the City Council expressed their full support in the plan, and said public input would be asked for throughout the entire process, and that the integrity of Krug Park would remain intact.

The next council meeting, regularly scheduled for Dec. 24, has been canceled due to the Christmas holiday. The council will meet again on Jan. 7, 2013.

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Posted by on December 13, 2012 in Downtown St Joseph

 

City Council discussing Krug Park Amphitheater revitalization to hold 23,000 people

A dream to rebirth a 92-year-old outdoor amphitheater into a multi-million-dollar venue is one step closer to reality.

The City Council, at a work session on Tuesday, agreed to take a step in signing a Memorandum of Understanding between the city and potential developers of the Krug Park amphitheater. A resolution will be voted on at the Dec. 10 council meeting.

Bruce Woody, city manager, described the memorandum as a “gentleman’s agreement” — a non-binding agreement that frames the concept of the amphitheater, including potential financing, tax incentives and transportation improvements.

Tuesday’s meeting focused on the details surrounding the Memorandum of Understanding — the first step in a long, arduous process — which will allow the developers to show potential investors that a plan has support from the city. It does not commit the city to any development or financial agreements.

As the only natural amphitheater in the region, Krug Park could potentially draw major acts that skip over the area because of sound or seating issues, said Jeremiah Reeves, an heir of the Krug Park Trust who is leading the revitalization effort.

Developers estimate the amphitheater could seat upwards of 25,000 people, which would be a larger outdoor venue than the Sandstone Amphitheater in Kansas City. It also would be one of the largest natural amphitheaters in the United States, Mr. Reeves said.

Because of the plan’s infancy, details of infrastructure were not discussed, but the venue’s promoter, Pursuit Live, provided estimates on the amphitheater’s potential draw. Conservative estimates indicate the amphitheater could host 32 events between April and October, selling 206,000 tickets each year. Ticket sales, coupled with food and alcohol sales, could potentially generate $3.4 million per year, plus $750,000 in naming rights each year and $250,000 in sponsorship.

“It really could become a destination,” Mr. Reeves said. “It’s realistic to think major production companies can program here.”

As far as financing, the Memorandum of Understanding does not legally bind neither the city nor the developers into a solid plan, nor does it force the city into any financial agreements.

Gregory Hummel, partner at Bryan Cave LLP, the law firm representing Krug Park Development, LLC, said this allows their team to begin searching for revenue streams from potential investors and sponsors, as well as interested parties that would want naming rights. Once they determine how much could be funded, they could then ask the city for tax incentives or bond issues. But Mr. Hummel said they are hoping the project would pay for itself.

“Will it go 100 percent? I don’t know that, but we have to test it,” Mr. Hummel said. “If we need other revenue streams, then we could potentially come back and ask you for them.”

Mr. Woody said the city has multiple options to help with financing: Applying for tax increment financing (TIF), which was used to develop The Shoppes at North Village; designating it as a community improvement district (CID), which was used to develop Downtown; or designating it as an entertainment district, which would allow for additional sales tax at events held at the amphitheater. The developers also could apply for historic tax credits, due to the historic nature of the park and its amphitheater, which was built in the 1920s.

He added that the city would not enter into any full-faith credit agreements with the developers.

 

 
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Posted by on December 13, 2012 in Downtown St Joseph

 
 
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