Revenue For Buildings Still Strong

June 28, 2002
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GRAND RAPIDS — The Convention and Arena Authority continued to hear last week that revenues for the Grand Center and the Van Andel Arena were exceeding expectations.

At the same time, board members also learned that the highest grossing concert in the arena’s six-year history was held on a recent Friday night in June.

As for those numbers, the Grand Center was $12,000 to the good 11 months into its fiscal year. Granted, that isn’t a lot of money, but the building was projected to lose more than $400,000 while the DeVos Place convention center was being built.

“We’ve had a positive year,” said Chris Machuta of SMG, the company that manages the arena and Grand Center.

The arena was nearly $1.2 million in the black at the end of May, just a few dollars short of reaching its 12-month projection for the fiscal year with 30 days to spare.

“The arena continues to be successful over the last half of the year,” said Machuta.

Arena general manager Rich MacKeigan added to the good news when he told board members that last month will likely turn out to be the best revenue-generating June the building has had. He said the main reason for his optimism was that the arena hosted four concerts last month when it normally only has two in June.

On top of that, he said the Eagles’ performance on June 21 grossed $1.326 million to set the revenue record for all concerts held in the building.

“People going out the front door of the arena said they had a wonderful time. People going out the back door of the arena said they had a wonderful time,” said MacKeigan.

“And my accounting department had a wonderful time counting the money,” he added.

If June turns out to be a record-breaker, it will be the second month this calendar year that generated an all-time revenue high. February was the first.

Despite the healthy financial review that board members received on the buildings they are responsible for, they decided to ask for money to close the fiscal gap they are facing in building DeVos Place.

The project is still $13 million short of meeting its $220 million goal, so the CAA agreed to ask the Downtown Development Authority to contribute another $5 million to it. The DDA gave $5 million to the convention center project earlier and is expected to hear the CAA’s latest request for money on July 10.

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