Live Nation Teaches Tuscaloosa

Tuscaloosa, Ala., is set to be the new home of a 6,500-seat riverfront amphitheatre with a scheduled opening date of summer 2010.

Back in October 2007, Wilson Rogers, Live Nation senior VP of venues Southeast, took a trip to Tuscaloosa to give city officials some recommendations and guidance about building amphitheatres.

In July 2008, Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox presented a riverfront amphitheatre plan to the city council and public at a July 29 meeting. The proposal is now a reality with a $17 million bond issue for the shed being sold, according to the Tuscaloosa News.

The shed is being built on a landfill and $3.2 million will be needed to firm up the substructure. The remaining $13.8 million will be designated for above-ground work. Construction bids are going out in late January with bids going out in two parts, the first for the substructure work, then for the above-ground.

“Because it’s a landfill, it begs the question, ‘Why build there?’” Maddox said, according to the Tuscaloosa News. “The answer is, ‘Where else are you going to find 12 acres of land on the riverfront for $3 million?’”

Tuscaloosa is using dirt from other construction projects to level the site, which Maddox estimates will save $400,000 to $500,000 in comparison to using another company’s fill dirt. Davis Architects originally presented an artist rendering with a partial roof but a new rendering shows the roof taken out.

“The roof is out, but we’re looking at bidding out a tin structure that will be removable for various events,” Maddox told the paper. “We’re going to go ahead and put in the foundations in case we want to add the roof later.”

The proposed venue includes fixed seats, not bleachers. There will be 22 boxes located midway between the first and second seating groups.

Red Mountain Entertainment has been tapped to run the venue, according to the Tuscaloosa News.