LANSING, Mich. — Lansing is getting $2 million from the state to build a performance venue bigger than anything now in the city.
The 1,500-seat center would allow larger acts to perform in Lansing, which lacks a venue large enough to accommodate bigger audiences.
“When BoarsHead closed [in 2010] there really started to be an effort to talk about... are people staying here for concerts? Are they going to Detroit? Are they going to Grand Rapids or Chicago?” Lansing Mayor Andy Schor said.
The new performance center will be financed with the $2 million from the state, in addition to $8 million from public, educational and government access fees paid by cable TV companies.
Lansing currently has venues that can accommodate 200 to 300 people. The Wharton Center at Michigan State University can accommodate almost 3,000 patrons.
“From the very beginning we were looking to do something that was complimentary to the Wharton Center, not competitive at all,” said Dominic Cochran, director of the Lansing Public Media Center. “So the capacity of the Great Hall is around 3000 people. And it's permanent seating, so it's conducive to something like touring Broadway productions like they have a lot there. This will not be that. This will certainly be more like a rock and roll or hip hop venue to see that kind of music, and again, more like standing and dancing, instead of the permanent seating.”
The venue will also house the Lansing Public Media Center, which offers public access to professional level tools to produce media and practice editing, recording and filming.
“I think it's really inspirational for somebody to come there who might have an idea for a podcast or a show,” Cochran said. “Imagine coming to a facility where there's world class artists performing in the evening. That really kind of makes you want to step up your game when you're making your own creative endeavors.”
The facility can also help the city in other ways.
“We believe it’ll bring people in from other regions,” Schor said. “It'll help out with our economic development here in the city of Lansing and for our region. So this is truly a necessity. It's something that we've known we've needed for a while, and we're really excited to be able to get it done.”
Cochran said the groundbreaking could begin in the spring of 2022 and the venue could be operational as soon as early 2023.
Schor said the location of the performance hall has yet to be determined, but conversations about the details are ongoing.
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