Saturday, January 19, 2008

Fillmore Now Officially Official

Well it looks like plans for the Fillmore in Downtown Silver Spring ("The Purple Line of Concert Halls") are finally official. I don't know what I can say about this that already hasn't been said, but I advise hiding all sharp objects in certain surrounding neighborhoods.

Of course, by the time it opens, I may be too old to go out to concerts, at least on a regular basis. In the meantime, I will still have to trudge down to the 9:30 club on a Tuesday night to see Wilco. I'm just relieved that this whole CF has finally been put to bed... or has it?

Let's take a trip down memory lane with some selected Birchmere/Fillmore posts:

8/30/06: Doug Duncan Announces that Birchmere is coming to Silver Spring.

7/25/07: Birchmere plans get nixed; wait, what's this about Live Nation?

7/31/07: Your neighbors and the county government know better than you what you should enjoy listening to. Sadly, the Rock-afire Explosion video is now private. I really wanted to watch that again :(

9/15/07: Nothing "objectionable" will ever be sung at Live Nation.

9/26/07: Live nation deal is official, only not.

9/26/07: If not Michael Bolton, then who?

9/27/07: Bennedict Duncan wants to take his state money with him.

11/6/07: Seth Hurwitz gets spooked by Live Nation, suddenly extremely interested in Silver Spring venue.

11/30/2007: Are we going to end up with... an empty JC Penney's building?


Anonymous said...

Ike won.

Dan Reed said...

Seth Hurwitz responds again . . . will this make a difference? That aircraft carrier suggests otherwise . . .

Sligo said...

Banners on aircraft carriers have been known to have premature declarations in the past...

Michelle said...

Is it *still* the case that no one knows what the hell happened with Birchmere?

Husband and I are big fans of the existing Birchmere in all but its location. (We are folk/indie fans, BTW, not country.) If it's not gonna happen it's not gonna happen but that the reason why should be a big secret is pretty amazing to me.

silver spring penguin said...

In September 2007, Leggett explained why talks with the Birchmere collapsed.

BTW, Sligo, I envy your Photoshop skills!

Anonymous said...

I can't wait to vote that stupid f*ck out of office. With my daughters sitting in temporary classrooms and O'Malley raising taxes good ole Ike sees fit to leave 8 million on the table. I don't care who goes in that spot, I just want the best fiscal deal possible and we didn't get it, not by a long shot.

I love Ike's ridiculous and phony argument that no other entity would want to deal with SS in the future if we backed out of the Fillmore deal to (gasp) make a much better deal. Total nonsense. Money is money and the next deal will always be available.

And the equally spurious notion that Hurwitz should have submitted an offer. He didn't because he and everyone else thought the Birchmere deal was going through. The bigger question is why didn't Ike put out requests for offers once the Birchmere deal went south? Why did this deal go through without the slightest competition?

Anonymous said...

anonymous: why didn't Ike put out requests for others to join in on all the fun? Maybe because the county and the Lees were talking with Live Nation MONTHS BEFORE the Birchmere deal fell through?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous, exactly right. This whole thing stinks from the head down. What bugs me most about this is the one knew about the LiveNation negotiations. This deal is such a give-away it is frightening. Once the Birchmere fell through it should have been opened up for bidding. I don't want Ike telling me what's best for SS. This is all about his ego.

Thayer Avenue said...

All about his ego? Where do you get that from? Don't you think he has some interest of his constituents in mind? Otherwise he'd get voted out of office pronto (which I'm sure you'd be all over). I don't think the fact that you disapprove of the outcome is enough reason to take unsubstantiated personal swipes.

Anonymous said...

Thayer Avenue, you are in shock that a politician would make decisions based on his or her ego? Gasp.

Do you honestly think this entire process was handled at all transparently? Once Leggett started making silly doom and gloom statements about the county's reputation suffering if the negotiations were opened up to other vendors, it was clear to me he was more concerned about his own hide. I agree with was absolutely based on Leggett's ego. And hopefully, in the next election, the voters will take that into consideration.

Clancy said...

I don't get why "negotiating in secret" with LiveNation was a problem when doing the same with Birchmere was not. Neither was particularly "transparent," and in all honesty, a lot of development is pretty much impossible without these kinds of public-private partnerships that are worked out between investors and public servants over a few drinks and cigars in back rooms. It may not jive well with the open-government side of me, but I'm realistic enough to know that's how business often gets done.

In this instance, at the end of the day, it's the same damn deal. If you didn't get up in arms over the Birchmere deal, then what's the problem with the one with LiveNation?

WB said...

Clancy, at the "end of the day" it wasn't the same "damn deal."

When Leggett and company went to the state to lobby for money in 2007, they sold a very specific and very specifically delineated project: the Birchmere Music Hall. In that sense, the state legislature made a specific commitment to give the county 4m to entice a very specific company: the Birchmere. In that sense, there were no "secret negotiations". There was a legislative vetting and approval of the specific Birchmere project. It was totally transparent. And...if the state legislators wouldn't have given the 4m, the Birchmere project more than likely would have died a very quick death.

There was no such legislative vetting and approval of Live Nation. One could make an argument that in fact a kind of bait and switch occured. If the county originally would have gone to the state and asked them to give money to Live Nation project, they would have been laughed out of Annapolis. Live Nation got very lucky that the Birchmere paved the way for this deal.

But more to the point, its a bit frightening to hear you advocate a positively Nixonian if-the-other-guys-are-doing-it-so-should-we mentality.

chaz said...

Sorry to ramble...

I don't really think this is about Ike's ego, but I do think he took what he thought was the path of least resistance with Livenation. From the county's perspective, the deal by-the-numbers isn't any WORSE than the Birchmere deal, and it's with an established brand that runs similar venues nationwide.

Clancy got it right in mentioning "public-private partnership." I'd like to know more about the Lees' input in selecting Livenation. When it comes down to it, it's their building, and I'm willing to bet they were happy with the Livenation deal from the start. From their perspective, why entertain other offers if the process was going smoothly?

I've felt negatively about the whole thing since I heard Livenation mentioned, but something is certainly better than nothing, so I'm happy it's finally going to move forward.

On another note, though, did anyone else think it was interesting that they dropped this news on Friday afternoon before a holiday weekend?

Sligo said...


That's really funny I was thinking the same thing. That's what you do when you want to bury a story in the news cycle. It didn't seem like something they necessarily needed to do so the timing was really odd.

Clancy said...

wb, you really are playing a game of semantics if you think that this deal is structurally all that different from the Birchmere one. In this one, the county does assume an extra $4 million hit. Would I have preferred that the state kick some in? Sure. But why make it a deal-breaker?

I know the county is in some financial hot water, but in the end $8 million dollars just isn't what it used to be. This is especially true when that's pretty much the price for a pedestrian bridge the county installed just over a year ago. If that money helps provide a first-rate draw to downtown SS, providing an economic anchor on which other businesses can rely, then great!

wb said...


First...Where do you get the notion that the state isn't putting in 4m to this project? From all reports in the media, that is still happening.

Second..Its not a semantical difference that LN has no option to buy. It's a HUGE structural differentiation between the two deals. The Cty made a stratetic maneuver to stop the criticism of this being an 8m giveaway to LN. It was a smart defensive move on their part. As I explained above, the two deals are/were quite different, particular in regard to transparency and legislative vetting.