Facelift gives iconic Agora a modern feel
According to a popular adage adopted in the world of rock, the more things change, the more they stay the same.
While the same could be said for Cleveland’s historic Agora Theatre and Ballroom, there’s a lot more emphasis on the change this month.
cheap moncler jackets sale July marks one year since AEG Presents, the live entertainment division of Los Angeles based AEG, acquired 100% ownership of the concert venue’s operating rights and half the property. Financial terms of that deal have not been disclosed. cheap moncler jackets sale
moncler outlet uk Since then, AEG has pumped cheap moncler jackets more than $3 million into renovating the space. While some changes reveal parts of the structure not seen for decades, many of the changes are in stark contrast to its more recent moncler outlet online former self. moncler outlet uk
cheap moncler coats That includes new air conditioning and heating, improved sound and lighting systems and a restored grand lobby. Old bars have been replaced, bathrooms renovated and security and safety improved. Wood flooring was torn up to reveal original ceramic tile that dates back to when the building first opened in 1913 moncler outlet as the Metropolitan Theatre. And there’s internet inside. cheap moncler coats
moncler jacket sale That’s all besides fixes guests may never notice, like new plumbing, refreshed moncler outlet sale dressing rooms and a revamped electrical system. moncler jacket sale
«We addressed operational needs so the building was brought into the 21st century and became more functional,» said Shawn Trell, AEG Presents chief operating officer and executive vice president. «But there was also a big improvement optically. Suffice to say, there was certainly room for improvement.»
Guests of years past likely remember the Agora for its dark, dank guts stained by decades of cigarettes and booze. The aging space was degrading and begging for repairs, yet cheap moncler fondly embraced by concertgoers for its place in Cleveland’s music history. Banners covered holes in the ceiling. Old wood wall paneling was glued to parts of the floor. Restrooms were in disrepair. Those rough edges felt natural in many ways, like a physical embodiment of the gritty rock scene it shares a symbiotic relationship with.
But cash flow was tight cheap moncler sale in recent years. And the Agora needed a plan to drive revenue.
cheap moncler outlet Agora owner and talent buyer Chris Zitterbart (who shares 50% ownership of the property itself with AEG) began running the Agora in late 2013 after being approached by Henry «Hank» LoConti Sr., who founded the first iteration of the Agora in 1966. Zitterbart came from Peabody’s that year, a concert club slanted toward hard rock that was vacated in 2013 as its lease was terminated for an expanding Cleveland State University campus that plowed over it. cheap moncler outlet
«When I came in, I know the venue needed investment and some love,» Zitterbart said. «From plumbing to Wi Fi, it needed a lot of things. I could’ve done all that on my own, but it would’ve taken a decade or two.»
Revenues were effectively flat as Zitterbart came in as the venue hosted only a handful of events a year. Activity picked up with Zitterbart at the helm. He began to diversify acts and book shows in the ballroom.
cheap moncler But in terms of cash flow, it was still «effectively a break even proposition» each year, Trell said. cheap moncler
«They had whatever shows they had, cover expenses and pay staff,» Trell said. «At the end of the day, there wasn’t a lot left after that, if anything.»
moncler outlet jackets There would never be enough capital to spruce moncler sale up the facility the way it deserved with how business was progressing. moncler outlet jackets
cheap moncler jackets Zitterbart and AEG began cheap moncler outlet talking and working together between 2014 and 2015, connecting over an effort to book heavy metal band Volbeat at the space. Discussions grew of a partnership. But AEG and the Agora were effectively sizing each other up those first years. cheap moncler jackets
«They were kicking the tires to see what we were doing,» Zitterbart said. «I think they wanted to see we could be a viable entity in the market before a deal happened.»
moncler factory outlet New life under AEGBesides an injection of capital, the partnership with AEG offered improved management of shows. The company books some 10,000 events annually worldwide. network includes about 80 venues that AEG either owns outright moncler outlet store or has exclusive operating rights for. Tapping into that network allows the new buy moncler jackets AEG operated Agora to land touring acts that may have never moncler outlet hit its radar in the past. moncler factory outlet
«It’s tough getting multiple big acts at once and getting cash flow to work,» Zitterbart said. «Now with AEG agents, cheap moncler coats it’s a lot easier to do six or seven shows in a row.»
moncler sale The AEG component also has influenced some one off acts to go there, like April’s Dennis Kucinich fundraiser featuring Dave Matthews. moncler sale
«When you have an act of Dave’s stature, you don’t want to be worrying about any holdups from a production angle, a venue angle or anything like that,» said Max Bonanno, a partner with MidCitizen Entertainment who scouted the Agora for that event. «Knowing that the AEG team was in charge of things, it was a huge relief in a sense.»
moncler outlet store That’s a big change in itself. When Zitterbart took over the Agora, he was often pressured to pay performers in advance because, prior to his arrival, some acts got stiffed, including the Black Keys. Notably, Black Keys cofounder Dan Auerbach played his first show at the venue since that snafu in March, which was a big win for Zitterbart. moncler outlet store
moncler outlet «People knew me before I came to the Agora,» he said. «But I essentially had to pay my dues all over again because of what happened with the Black Keys.» moncler outlet
moncler outlet sale Aesthetically, Jason Parent, a booking agent with APA Agency who grew up in Cleveland going to Agora shows, said it’s a «night and day» difference at the venue today and that the artist experience has improved. moncler outlet sale
«My first club show there was in 2002. I had a real nostalgic feeling for it,» Parent said. «When it reopened under Chris, I was all about going there. But the sound kind of sucked. There was no AC. It was kind of dumpy. So I was careful about what shows I’d put there.»
moncler sale outlet He didn’t mention any acts by name that actively avoided the Agora. But he did point out an upcoming show in August featuring Alkaline Trio, who haven’t played there in many monclerdownjacket years. moncler sale outlet
The Agora only closed for about two months at the start of the moncler mens jackets year to complete its biggest renovations.
moncler outlet online While traffic is beginning to increase, it’ll still be a few years before there’s a true return on investment. moncler outlet online
Beyond nabbing more big and diverse concerts under AEG’s lead, the new venue which has grown staff from about 60 people to 100 is planning to heavily promote itself as a general event space, creating a new line monlcer down jackets of revenue.