Fillmore Maryland Moves Forward

Live Nation signed a lease agreement with Montgomery County in Maryland January 18th to bring a Fillmore music hall to the city of Silver Spring, which puts at least a temporary end to some local turmoil.

The county and state each chipped in $4 million to bring in the Fillmore, and the Lee Development Group donated $3.5 million in land, according to Montgomery Gazette. Live Nation is expected to pay the utilities and outfit the building.

County officials said they believe the $13.5 million deal with LN will generate $1.1 million a year in state and local revenue. Live Nation VP Ted Mankin said the 2,000-capacity venue will feature a diverse lineup, from reggae to rock to jazz.

Not everyone was happy when LN signed a non-binding letter of intent with the county last year without an open bidding process. The Birchmere Music Hall of Alexandria, Va., had spent five years trying to get the county to build a Birchmere-style venue at the location in question, but Birchmere officials said they ended talks out of frustration.

Then, after the LN deal was initially announced, the presidents of a dozen Silver Spring civic associations wrote county executive Isaiah Leggett in November to express "disappointment with the process," the Washington Post said.

Promotion company I.M.P., which runs the 9:30 Club in Washington, D.C., was particularly upset that Montgomery County negotiated a deal with Live Nation. I.M.P.’s Seth Hurwitz has offered to build a venue without taxpayer money, the Post said, and is planning to take his case to Montgomery’s legislative delegation.

Opinions of council members varied, with one telling the Post that Leggett should be praised for keeping "prime property" in the county’s hands. Another told the paper the deal is "a rip-off and we could have done better."