Mobile City Council will once again address and possibly vote on the proposed management and booking bid from Huka Entertainment and SMG Venue Management.
Well three city council meetings and several presentations, the only bidders for Saenger Mgmt contract, Huka and SMG, were denied. City Council voted down 4-3, despite the supporters from the entertainment industry who appeared to voice their opinion. Bobby Bostwick, President Mobile Symphony Orchestra, President Friends of the Saenger Theatre, AJ Niland, Sam Voispa and Tim Camp are some of the folks that spoke on behalf of keeping the Saenger alive.
Council members who denied were Gina Gregory, Bess Rich, and John Williams.
The Saenger will apparently be shut down October 1 if no decision made pursuant to the City’s agreement to manage only until October 1. The decision was made following the CLA’s unpopular move in a new direction, including the termination of the staff at the time. The CLA ultimately resigned as managers.
After the CLA resigned from running the theatre in December, the City Council issued a 16 page public notice for bidding on a contract to maintain the Saenger while bringing in culturally diverse performances. Only three entities expressed interest, RSA, SMG and Huka. RSA never submitted an official proposal as required by the City. Huka and SMG agreed to work together and proposed as such. Several City Council members also feel it is in the best interest of Mobilians and the City’s reputation.
The City’s requests for bids on the management of the Saenger with precise details of responsibilities, included a deadline for submitting a full proposal as May 31 at 5pm. Accordingly, the parties with proposals would do their presentations, investigations would be made etc etc. August 8 was originally cited as the day to award the project. However, that award has still not been announced, despite the fact only two proposals were submitted, Huka and SMG. The vote was continually tabled.
At the September 9 Cultural Committee meeting, SMG and Huka Reps presented the financial projected profit and loss statement along with their duties as managers, projecting more a possible loss as they rebuild relations in the concert industry. Gains are projected to increase more every year.
The financial offer is booking and promoting a variety of shows.: If a show loses money, Huka/SMG will absorb the financial loss. Of every show that makes money, the city will receive 75% of the profit, with the remaining 25% going to Huka/SMG. The only financial request is to maintain the agreement Mobile with the CLA, an annual fee of $200,000 (which was cited as the average figure paid to CLA for maintenance).
Huka has ten shows already lined up for the remainder of 2013, however, cannot proceed and will lose those possibilities if a decision is not made at the Sept. 10 meeting. They also have at least 64 in the works for 2014.
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