December Rough For DeVos Place

January 28, 2005
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GRAND RAPIDS — December wasn't in a gift-giving mood for DeVos Place, as it left the building with its second-worst financial month in its short 13-month history.

Only the $236,896 deficit racked up last June was worse than the $199,934 shortfall the building suffered in December, which marked the halfway point of the fiscal year.

Although the convention center hosted 34 events in December, event income came in lower than projected, resulting in a loss that was $15,000 higher than was expected.

For the current fiscal year, DeVos Place is $732,765 in the red. The six-month deficit, though, is roughly $115,000 less than was forecast in June.

At its current pace, DeVos Place is on track to lose $1.27 million instead of the $1.39 million that was projected in June.

Van Andel Arena posted a surplus of $121,951 from 11 events held in December. Event income for the month was higher than expected because of strong ticket sales for concerts.

The arena has a surplus of nearly $500,000 halfway through the fiscal year, but that figure is about $190,000 less than the forecast. The building is on pace to finish the fiscal year with a surplus of $1.32 million, instead of the $1.51 million projected in June.

The arena surplus will be used to fill the DeVos Place deficit.

"We are always driven by our concert availability and performance," said Steven Heacock, who was elected to his second term as chairman of the Convention and Arena Authority last week. The CAA owns both buildings.

Twenty-three concerts have to be held at the arena this fiscal year for the building to have a chance to meet its projected surplus. As of last week, 19 had either played the Van or have been signed to play the building.

"I need a few more things to happen for us to hit our number," said Rich MacKeigan, the SMG general manager who works closely with concert promoters. "The next four to six weeks will tell our story."    

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