I had kind of thought this was a closed issue, but perhaps I was mistaken. Yesterday, 9:30 club proprietor Seth Hurwitz sent a letter to Ike Leggett insisting that he should set up shop in the old Penney's building instead of Live Nation. (Download full letter here.)
Hurwitz said his Bethesda-based company, It's My Party Inc., should have an opportunity to compete with Live Nation for the coveted site on the Washington music scene.Financially, the deal offered by Hurwitz seems better for the county, at least on the surface. He offers double the monthly rent of Live Nation and to ultimately purchase the facility for significantly more than Live Nation has agreed to. I like the proposed name better, too.
He has offered to open a 1,400-seat venue called the Silver Spring Music Hall. In addition to hosting national concerts, the facility would sell food and give the community use of the space rent-free.
Of course, there is one line in the letter that scares me:
I.M.P. would hold regularly scheduled meetings with the community for input on the acts the community wants.I think we all know that the people who would show up at those meetings do not necessarily represent the "community" as a whole. Of course, they could just patronize them, listen to their rants, then ignore their demands outright. You know, like politicians.
It's too bad that Hurwitz didn't get into the game until it was (probably) too late. Where was he all these years when the county was in fruitless negotiations with the Birchmere or before they entered their "non-binding agreement" with Live Nation? He didn't first express interest until September 24th, after the Live Nation agreement was nearly completed. I don't know if the county can break off another agreement and expect to retain any face. It would be a huge embarrassment at this point, even if this new offer is superior.
I can tell you who the #1 supporter of this new plan is: the guy who prints those "Future Home Of" banners.
UPDATE: Here is the response to I.M.P.'s letter from Ike Leggett's office and here's I.M.P.'s reply.