Authority discusses VIP seating for coliseum

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Special VIP seating with its own amenities, available to purchasers willing to pay a premium, may be coming to James Brown Arena and Bell Auditorium in the new year.

On Tuesday, the Augusta-Richmond County Coliseum Authority board described creating a special bloc of seats with amenities such as those offered in suites or skyboxes at larger arenas.

"It might be a nice little perk," said Brad Usry, the authority vice president. "It would provide really good service for an element of people willing to pay for it."

Modifications at the venues creating the sections would be paid for with a portion of proceeds from recently issued bonds, said Monty Jones, the general manager for Global Spectrum, which operates both facilities for the authority.

The seating would "make it a little better for patrons, give them an added experience," Jones said. "It's also revenue-generating."

With a $1.3 million check for hotel-motel tax proceeds expected to arrive Friday, the authority showed just $5,425 in year-to-date revenues Tuesday, according to accountant Brenda Carroll.

Year-to-date expenses were $465,936, coming in about $60,000 under budget, and $82,769 below last year's actual expenses, her report showed.

With bond payments coming due during 2011, Global Spectrum will have just $440,000 in operating revenues for the year, Carroll said.

Jones said that although Augusta Entertainment Complex was about eight events under budget for 2010, it will be "making up for lost time" in 2011, with concerts and events including Mike Epps with Sheryl Underwood, two bull-riding shows, the O'Jays, Royal Comedy Tour, Bobby "Blue" Bland, Blake Shelton and the Avett Brothers.

The nine December events so far at James Brown Arena and Bell Auditorium drew a total attendance of 10,250, including 5,400 total for six Augusta RiverHawks games.

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Riverman1
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Riverman1 12/29/10 - 01:30 am
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They used to have seating

They used to have seating like that in the early 60s. Know what I mean?

usapatriot
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usapatriot 12/29/10 - 02:56 am
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$1.3 million in motel taxes

$1.3 million in motel taxes paid by mostly out of towners. That's kind of like your tax dollars being spent by Congress in another state via earmarks. But it's ok since it's here?

ARC is what, $3-$5 million in the red? When belts have to be tightened in a family budget, entertainment one of the first things to get cut. Should ARC residents be having a debate about JB Arena getting this source of revenue?

Exactly how many out of towners come here for a JB Arena event and how much revenue is collected by ARC vs not having it? Is it worth $1.3 million and furloughing deputies?

Cut teachers, law enforcement, transportation, but by god keep that money losing arena open with a $1.3 million shot in the arm.

Is this the attitude? Are there commissioners with the guts to sell this thing and get it off the public dole? Sell it or sell the rubble and the land. Or are those "preferred seats" going to those who could decide the fate?

walrus4ever
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walrus4ever 12/29/10 - 08:57 am
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I wouldnt mind paying a

I wouldnt mind paying a little more if there was more to watch besides cows and people beating each other up.

mike1sc
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mike1sc 12/29/10 - 10:19 am
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Oh "walrus4ever",

Oh "walrus4ever", occasionally there is some first rate entertainment at the Arena, in spite of its very outdated structure. This debate comes up frequently....I specifically remember a poster that announced that the arena was good enough to hold anything except maybe the Super Bowl, about three years ago. Well, that may have been true in 1975, but since the 90's, most of the mainstream entertainers in the world have a minimum seat capacity requirement in their contract, and will not even consider a venue like the James Brown Arena unless they get upfront payment, which will automatically cause the event to lose money.

I get amused from time to time from all the naysayers when it comes to getting a first rate venue for the second largest city in Georgia. Those same people are still watching their black and white console tvs with aluminum foil on the rabbit ears antenna, have a rotary dial phone in their hallway, and don't have a clue what's going on in the world around them.

The bottom line is this...if you have a second rate facility, you will get second rate entertainment 90% of the time. Then all those same naysayers will pronounce "See, this place can't make any money!".....Well, duh.....I wonder why! And it goes round and round and round.

My hats off to the Management Company currently in place. It's a miracle they are achieving any of their goals with what they have to work with.

Poor poor Augusta....still living in the 60's but wanting results from the present.

mike1sc
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mike1sc 12/29/10 - 10:27 am
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Oh, and "Walrus4ever", you

Oh, and "Walrus4ever", you don't have to worry about watching cows anymore. The James Brown Arena lost that contract to a competing city after having it for many many years. Wonder if it had anything to do with the facility? Hum.....

Riverman1
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Riverman1 12/29/10 - 10:31 am
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Mike1SC, not so. The Futurity

Mike1SC, not so. The Futurity still is here. That was the barrel racing that went to Perry, GA.

countyman
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countyman 12/29/10 - 03:30 pm
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Excellent post Mike1sc...

Excellent post Mike1sc... What's really funny is most of the comments who are against anything that will push Augusta ahead of comparables size cities and into the 21st century. They mostly come from people who live oustide of Richmond County...

The baseball mix-use entertainment venue, Costco, modern street car system, Richmond County master plan, etc...

I know Augusta was a lost city in the 80's and early 90's.... But we have a progressive and bright mayor who has Augusta listed in almost every high ranking publication there is...

aintryt
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aintryt 12/29/10 - 05:17 pm
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@ countyman - you seem to

@ countyman - you seem to know quite a bit about incoming businesses. There's a lot of action going along Peach Orchard Rd. What's in our near future and where?

countyman
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countyman 12/29/10 - 08:20 pm
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I think the post office is

I think the post office is expanding their parking lot along Peach Orchard road.. There is a new doctors office open next to Ryan's and Hibachi Sushi is opening in the former Golden Corral. The construction near Carnes Auto Sales is suppose to be a bread distribution center/retail concept.

In 2011 or 2012 when GA DOT finally decides to widen and add new interchanges between Gordon Hwy and Deans Bridge road. I expect a target shopping center or something similar to locate next to the I-520/Peach Orchard road interchange.

mike1sc
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mike1sc 12/30/10 - 05:00 pm
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"Countyman", it is refreshing

"Countyman", it is refreshing to read someone who is saying progressive things about Augusta. My wife and I live across the river but for years have supported businesses and venues in and around the downtown area, and have done what we felt was more than some who live in that area to promote it. You are correct, Augusta has a very bright and progressive Mayor, which is evident of what has been accomplished during his tenue, of which those same things that couldn't get accomplished previous to his arrival. In those bleak bleak days, if the Augusta Commissioners only knew how completely ridiculous they looked each and every time they were recorded in the local media. Someone forgot to tell them it was 2006, not 1966. But, those grim days are behind everyone now, and there has been progress in all areas...as proof just in the most recent election one of the biggest trouble makers from the previous commission was turned away by the voters, which should send a loud signal to all of the elected officials that it is time Augusta gets on with it.

And to the folks who were so much against a downtown ballpark venue...I'll say this. There are cities in this country that are prospering as a result of bringing a venue such as this to their downtowns, and many times with little or no cost to the taxpayers. Instead of posters quoting negatives from a book that was written 16 years earlier, maybe they should look no further than Memphis, Tennessee. Not a major league team, but a farm team, the Memphis Redbirds, built a ballpark in downtown Memphis. That team's average attendance since that park was built has had a direct impact on the downtown businesses in Memphis. Isn't that is what Augusta is trying to achieve, a vibrant downtown? Oh, and that ballpark was built around 9 years after the book denouncing ballparks has so frequently been used in debates.

Countyman, I have a sneaky feeling you just may been one of our bright elected officials...and if you are not, maybe you should be. It is nice to hear about progress and plans and today and tomorrow...refreshing is the word.

aintryt
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aintryt 12/30/10 - 07:15 pm
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thanks countyman, I was

thanks countyman, I was hoping the area in front of the post office was going to be the Chick fil a you mentioned awhile back. I've notice some work going on at the old Eckerds building as well. Gets my mind thinking that perhaps some businesses are going to shift across/down the street and Target will take over the Goodwill location. It's good to see things coming back to South Augusta, we've been neglected far too long. You should have a e-newsletter about upcoming projects in Augusta. I'd be the first to sign up!

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