I have long been supportive of The 800 Block Project which is located on the former Don Miller auto dealership lot which the city purchased by the city in 2010 for $5.8 million. When I first came to Madison in the closing days of 1986 I was much aware of how dreadful the gateway street–East Washington–was heading to the statehouse. The efforts have been slow but now there is new growth and some energy and lift to this area. Over 2,000 apartment units and approximately 2.5 million square feet of commercial space will be added to the area over the next two decades–and I support that effort.
And might I add this is exactly where a music venue of this type should be placed. One of the concerns with neighborhoods is the level of noise and increased activity when businesses not appropriate to the area wish to develop. But that is not the case with Frank Productions–as they have correctly selected a place that is well suited for their needs and also one that can be harmonious with the local residents.
I simply can not abide when critics contend that this new venue will harm the Madison music scene. There is simply no basis to this claim. Instead a new venue will engage more concert-goers and provide a wider array of entertainment. There is a wide mix of performers who wish to experience a Madison crowd and plenty of folks who want to have places to spend their money and tap their feet.
This proposed concert venue aims to book shows with audiences of no less than 1,500 people. While Frank Productions has booked shows at a variety of local venues this would be the first venue owned by the Madison-based promoter.
If there are some who feel a downside due to competition then so be it. Perhaps they need to upgrade and make for a more inviting and pleasing place for people to attend. But to simply complain that it is not good for the city—when what the critics mean is their own self-interests–well, that is an argument that should not sail.