Greek Theatre/Photo via Greek Theatre
Greek Theatre/Photo via Greek Theatre

The Los Angeles Recreation and Parks Commission, due to lack of a quorum, delayed a vote Wednesday on a proposal to have the city operate the Greek Theatre without the help of an outside management company.

The vote was rescheduled for the panel’s next meeting on March 19.

The proposal to scrap the current bidding process comes after a months- long battle between two giants of the concert booking industry to gain management control of the Greek Theatre.

The City Council, facing pressure from residents and bidders looking to win the venue’s management contract, recently indicated that it would not support the parks commission’s recommendation to hand over management of the Greek Theatre to Live Nation instead of granting longtime operator Nederlander a contract extension.

The parks commission was expected to consider restarting the bidding process, with some City Council members suggesting that Nederlander’s contract be extended a year while the city begins a new search. Nederlander’s contract expires this fall and is expected to run out before a new management company is found.

But Department of Recreation and Parks officials are now proposing that the city instead follow in the footsteps of such cities as Denver, which operates the Red Rock Amphitheater.

The parks commission is being asked to cancel the recent bidding process and return proposal deposits to the two bidders, Nederlander and Live Nation. That would set the stage for a new bidding process that includes the self- operating idea, staffers said.

The Los Angeles City Council voted 11-3 last month to oppose giving the contract to Live Nation. The vote was advisory, but if the Recreation and Parks Department had gone ahead in negotiating a contract with Live Nation, the final management agreement would still require the council’s approval.

Backers of each bidder — dressed in their respective colors of red for Live Nation and green for Nederlander/AEG — have turned up by the hundreds to various Recreation and Parks Commission and City Council meetings in efforts to sway decision-makers.

Many residents near the Greek Theatre were in favor of Nederlander, which has been the operator for nearly 40 years, citing concerns that Live Nation would not be as sensitive about concert noise and traffic congestion affecting the surrounding neighborhood.

But Live Nation officials said their proposal scored higher than Nederlander’s and provided more money for improvements to the facility, including $25 million in the first year of the contract, while Nederlander proposed spending $18 million in the first two years on upgrades to the facility.

Recreation and Parks Department General Manager Mike Shull sided with Live Nation, saying the department designed the bidding process to favor proposals that offered to pay more for improvements to the venue.

Ultimately, supporters of Nederlander’s contract won out, with the council rejecting Live Nation’s bid proposal.

—City News Service

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