The Fillmore in the spotlight

Source: Jonathan O’Connell, Washington Post, September 8, 2013

…But two years after Blige took the stage that first night, the wait continues for the Fillmore’s stakeholders to deliver on some of the commitments they made to win the right to operate the publicly financed facility…. Montgomery County and Live Nation, the $5.8 billion live entertainment giant, have held just one of a required 72 free or discounted community events at the venue to date, and have yet to agree on terms for the staging of a charitable auction that is supposed to take place annually….

…Montgomery County officials also said they believe the deal has been a good one so far, both as an economic development engine and a community facility…. Others are less than enthusiastic about the returns, particularly since state and county taxpayers paid more than $11 million for the facility. …

…Leggett inked an agreement without seeking competitive bids, and it drew a lawsuit from I.M.P., the Bethesda-based owner of the 9:30 Club in Northwest D.C., which was dismissed for lack of standing. The state and county pledged a total of $8 million for the project, but after Leggett agreed to foot the bill for cost overruns, taxpayers ultimately put up $11.2 million for the facility. …Under the lease agreement, Live Nation pays the county $90,000 annually for the first five years. Among other commitments, the community is “guaranteed a minimum of 36 free and heavily subsidized county and community uses of the facility each year.” To date, only one of those 72 events has been held, a Rock-in-Schools Concert put on by the county’s public school system and department of recreation in May of 2012. …