The entertainment giant that owns Oak Mountain Amphitheatre will book performances for the venue next year but won’t commit beyond 2023 amid the proposal to build a $50 million, 9,500-seat amphitheater in north Birmingham.
Live Nation, which owns Oak Mountain in Pelham, “reemphasized its commitment” to Oak Mountain in discussions held Wednesday with city leaders after details of the proposed Birmingham amphitheater were unveiled Tuesday, the city of Pelham said in a statement to AL.com.
But the company said it is “still evaluating the future of the venue” after the 2023 season.
“Live Nation enjoys bringing shows to music fans in the greater Birmingham area. Birmingham is a vibrant live entertainment destination and that is why we are exploring additional opportunities in the region,” the company said in the statement.
“We will operate and book Oak Mountain Amphitheatre for the 2023 season and are still evaluating the future of the venue. We are appreciative of the great partnership we have with the City of Pelham.”
A document outlining the plans for the Birmingham performance space indicated that Oak Mountain would not be allowed to be an entertainment venue if the proposal goes through:
“A restrictive covenant would be placed on any sale of [Oak Mountain] to ensure it would not serve as an amphitheater in the future,” the document stated.
The City of Pelham said it was blindsided by the proposal made to leaders in Jefferson County for the amphitheatre.
The Star at Uptown, the $300-million mixed-use development on the site of the former Carraway Hospital campus in North Birmingham, would be owned by the Birmingham Jefferson County Convention Complex.
During a work session of the Jefferson County Commission on Tuesday where the plans were unveiled, Commission President Jimmie Stephens said the project could be funded by $5 million contributions each from the county, the city of Birmingham, the BJCC, and Live Nation.
“If the amphitheater were to come into existence, it will It will require an agreement by the BJCC, Live Nation, the city and county to make an upfront contribution,” Stephens said. “That is a requisite.”
However, the amphitheater project could not move forward unless the BJCC and the Greater Birmingham Convention & Visitors Bureau relinquish hotel tax payments provided to it by the BJCC under an earmark agreement conceived after state lawmakers passed legislation in 2003 allowing the BJCC to capture payment in lieu of tax (PILOT) from the Sheraton to fund capital investments that support entertainment tourism.
The earmark represents one percent of the taxes now received from the Sheraton and Westin hotels, or approximately $900,000 annually. That would partially fund the debt service, Stephens said, with the remaining amount covered by revenue generated by the amphitheater, based on estimates provided by Live Nation.
“What the BJCC is attempting to do is to reclaim those PILOTS from the Sheraton Hotel and the Westin hotel, just those two hotels that are on the BJCC campus, and utilize those funds to fund the shortfall in debt service payments for the amphitheater,” Stephens said.