U Concerts, Paul Allen pact for Portland arena

Minneapolis, Austin next in Universal's expansion plans

HOLLYWOOD — Universal Concerts has pacted with billionaire Paul Allen’s Aegean Development to build a new outdoor amphitheater in the Portland, Ore., metropolitan area.

The agreement to build a new $17 million to $20 million venue advances Universal’s business strategy to establish beachheads in key regions across the U.S. while adding to its existing holdings of 11 venues.

It also enhances Universal’s presence on the West Coast, where it is the preeminent live entertainment presenter.

The Portland venue is one of three additional houses (Daily Variety, June 10) that Universal has on its drawing board. Venues in Minneapolis and Austin are also planned.

Universal opened a 20,000 seat Coors Amphitheater in Chula Vista, southeast of San Diego, in July.

“By developing a new outdoor amphitheater, we intend to bring Portland a high-quality live entertainment experience that incorporates the beauty of the region,” Jay Marciano, prexy of Universal Concerts, told Daily Variety. “With Aegean, we will provide concertgoers with world-class, cutting-edge music as well as the area’s premiere outdoor venue.”

Sites sighted Marciano said the location for the new venue has yet to be selected, but two sites are being considered. The venue will seat 20,000 and have a roof over the reserved seats to accommodate the climate. It is expected to bow summer 2000.

Aegean, an Allen firm which pursues new developments, operates Portland’s prestigious Rose Garden Arena and several other venues.

Other Allen outfits own the Portland Trail Blazers, the Seattle Seahawks and such venues as the Memorial Coliseum.

Execs from Aegean said the region needs a first-class facility that can meet myriad needs.

“While the Portland area features a variety of outdoor venues, none meet the needs of both the public and performers in one location,” said J. Isaac, senior veep of business affairs for Aegean.

Allen’s Oregon Arena Corp. also manages the Rose Quarter Commons and the Exhibit Hall.

Another Allen backed project, the Experience Music Project music museum, is scheduled to open in Seattle next year.

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