Sands Events Center Back On

An on-again, off-again events center at the Sands Casino Resort in Bethlehem, Pa., is back on, with the help of Live Nation and Visions Entertainment Group, who are partnering with the Sands in the venture.

Sands Bethlehem President Robert DeSalvio and others announced Sept. 6 that the events center project – put on hold in 2008 because of the recession – is back on track and with construction already under way is expected to be completed by May, according to

The 50,000-square-foot events center will be a flexible space, accommodating some 3,000 for concerts and 1,000 for banquets. Plans call for seven luxury suites and a 10,000-square-foot mezzanine, 12,000-square-foot lounge and 5,000-square-foot bistro that will be open before shows, according to the local Morning Call newspaper.

Vision Entertainment’s Jeffrey Trainer, one of the early investors in the former Bethlehem Steel property that is now home to the Steel Ice Center rink and ArtsQuest’s new Musikfest Café, wanted to bring a major music venue to the Lehigh Valley region. With the recession causing everyone to rethink their respective projects, it was agreed the best bet is a shared venue.

Sands already operates a casino, restaurants and a 302-room hotel at the site, and construction on the events center is taking place adjacent to the complex.

Vision Entertainment will operate the venue and Live Nation will handle bookings of artists expected to match up with Atlantic City’s level of live entertainment.

Live Nation Mid-Atlantic President Geoff Gordon reportedly brought a dozen LN staffers to the press conference.

“We’re excited to provide a great amount of programming,” he was quoted by “We feel really, really good about this project.”

Jerry Deifer, a co-founder of Vision Entertainment, told the website that he expects the events center to host from 185 to 225 live events per year, including concerts, comedians, DJs, boxing and other sporting events, leaving plenty of time for conventions.