Mayor Don Wesely today announced that a proposed study of the city-owned Pershing Auditorium will be expanded into a market study of the hospitality, convention and entertainment business in Lincoln and Lancaster County. The city plans to hire a firm to conduct the study, and Requests for Proposals (RFPs) are being released to potential bidders.
"We had planned to do a study simply on the future of Pershing, but before we spend any money on expanding or renovating that facility, we really need to take a look at the bigger picture," Mayor Wesely said. "As the recent report from the Concert and Entertainment Task Force indicated, there is a need to look at the facility issue city-wide and county-wide."
In addition to Pershing, those participating in the study include Lancaster County, the Lincoln Chamber of Commerce, the Lincoln Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Downtown Lincoln Association, the Mayor's Downtown Action Committee, the Lancaster County Agricultural Society, the Nebraska State Board of Agriculture and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
On a related issue, Mayor Wesely announced that he has selected SMG of Philadelphia to manage Pershing. The city will begin negotiations with SMG. The final negotiated contract will be submitted to the City Council for its approval in August. Ogden Entertainment of New York, which was managing Pershing, recently sold its entertainment division to Aramark of Philadelphia. The city terminated the contract with Ogden and re-bid it.
SMG, the nation's largest private entertainment management firm, is a joint venture of Hyatt Hotels and Resorts and Aramark. The other bidder for the management contract was Compass Facility Management of Ames, Iowa.