SBD/Issue 204/Facilities & Venues

Newark To Keep Eye On Prudential Center's Finances, Maintenance

Newark Official Shuts Down Prudential
Center On Friday Over Expired Permit
The Prudential Center was "hit with a nearly daylong shutdown Friday after its temporary certificate of occupancy had expired," and whether it is the "building's maintenance or its financial performance, Newark officials said they intend to keep a close eye" on the $375M venue, according to Maura McDermott of the Newark STAR-LEDGER. Newark Downtown Core Redevelopment Corp. (NDCRC) COO William Crawley said that the agency next month will launch a "national search for a firm specializing in financial performance and maintenance of arenas." Crawley said that the "goal is to make sure the Devils pay the city what they owe, maintain the arena properly and stay competitive." Crawley: "We invested $220[M] in this building. So we need to make sure that the property is being well-cared for." Crawley added that the NDCRC aims to have the management firm "measure how the venue stacks up against its competitors." Devils Owner Jeff Vanderbeek said that the Prudential Center "expects to book 175 events in its first year." That is a "less ambitious goal than Vanderbeek set in December, when he said he hoped to fill 200 dates." But Vanderbeek said, "We're very happy with our acts, we got our fair share of acts and we only think it's going to grow." Concert industry magazine Pollstar Editor Gary Bongiovanni said of the arena, "The fact they did that well is probably pretty good, actually, given that the industry is reacting to the worsening economy" (Newark STAR-LEDGER, 7/14).

FRANTIC FRIDAY: In Newark, Jeffery Mays reported New Jersey Judge Paul Vichness Friday "reinstated a temporary certificate of occupancy that allowed the Prudential Center to reopen after it was closed ... by a Newark construction code official." Vichness extended the certificate until August 25. The city has until July 21 to file a response, and a hearing is scheduled for August 8. The "completion of a smoke evacuation system to help clear the stairwells in the event of a fire is the subject of the dispute." But Devils co-Owner Michael Gilfillan said, "It's safe. It's just technicalities, paperwork, bureaucracy and miscommunication" (Newark STAR-LEDGER, 7/12).

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