Municipal Auditorium GM works to keep long-time, major clients

Thursday, August 4, 2011 at 12:24pm

The Nashville Municipal Auditorium’s head official is discussing with his long-time, major clients a strategy for those clients' future use of the facility’s 60,000-square-foot lower-level exhibition hall — a move necessitated by the Musicians Hall of Fame & Museum eventually permanently taking about 30,000 feet of that space.

Bob Skoney, the Municipal Auditorium’s veteran general manager, said some high-profile clients require varying amounts of exhibition space (the area located below the main arena floor) for certain functions. The clients include Amway, the Shrine Circus, the Tennessee Baptist Convention Youth Evangelism Conference and Teen Mania Ministries, among a handful of others.

“I talked to a client earlier this week,” Skoney said Thursday. “It’s premature to say what we can do. But we’re in the process of calling them. We’re taking it one client at a time to try to accommodate them.”

Last month, and after extensive discussions regarding issues ranging from guarantees of revenues to the precise wording of the proposed name for the soon-to-be-rebranded facility, the Municipal Auditorium Commission voted to approve a lease agreement. Commission chair John Landers, Hall of Fame owner Joe Chambers and his representative Peter Heidenreich, the Metro Law Department’s Cory Harkey and Skoney worked to strike the deal.

The group determined that the Musicians Hall of Fame & Museum revenue projections will help offset some business the auditorium expects to lose as a result of the arrangement. Specifically, the lease includes a provision that, following the first year, Chambers’ museum will be required to not fall below $75,000 in revenue provided to the auditorium for any two consecutive years.

Skoney said he is excited about having the Musicians Hall of Fame & Museum as an anchor tenant for the almost 49-year-old auditorium. Chambers hopes to have the cultural attraction opened by year's end.

Now the challenge is making sure the venerable facility’s long-time clients who need some exhibition space can continue to perform at the venue.

“On some, I’m cautiously optimistic,” Skoney said. “And on others, there remain some uncertainties.”