Civic Auditorium/Coliseum Feasibility Study Released for Public Comment

Communications Director

Eric Vreeland
evreeland@knoxvilletn.gov
(865) 215-3480

400 Main St., Room 654A
Knoxville, TN 37902

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Civic Auditorium/Coliseum Feasibility Study Released for Public Comment

Posted: 12/18/2015
Knoxville Civic Auditorium and Coliseum (KCAC) complexConsultants for the City of Knoxville have completed a market and feasibility study outlining options for the future of the Knoxville Civic Auditorium and Coliseum (KCAC) complex. Mayor Madeline Rogero is seeking public input and feedback as she considers the alternatives.

The 119-page study, led by Conventions, Sports and Leisure International (CSL), is available on the City’s website at www.knoxvilletn.gov/kcacstudy.

A public meeting to solicit comment on the study has been scheduled for 6 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 14, in the Civic Auditorium, 500 Howard Baker Jr. Ave. (Free parking will be available in the Coliseum garage.) Comments or questions about the study can be sent to comments@knoxvilletn.gov.

“The Civic Auditorium and Coliseum are more than 50 years old, and it was time to take a good, hard look at their future,” Mayor Rogero said. “The consultants have presented us with detailed information about their current conditions, and rough cost estimates for either retaining or replacing them. Now we really want to hear from the community before we make any decisions about how to proceed.”

The KCAC opened in 1961, and over the years the facilities have hosted thousands of concerts and events, from Guy Lombardo to Green Day. The Coliseum has also been home to a succession of minor-league ice hockey teams, including current tenants the Ice Bears, reigning champions of the Southern Professional Hockey League.

The complex consists of the 6,540-seat Coliseum (4,790 seats for hockey or ice shows), the 2,500-seat Auditorium, a 4,800-square foot ballroom, 10,000 square feet of exhibit space and an outdoor plaza with a capacity of 10,000. There are 2,500 parking spaces among three connected/adjacent garages.

CSL conducted the market and feasibility study with partners including Venue Solutions Group, Populous, McCarty Holsaple McCarty Architects, Smith Seckman Reid, Inc. and Dayenesi, Inc. Knoxville-based McCarty Holsaple McCarty were among the original architects for the complex, considered one of the leading examples of Modernist construction in Knoxville.

Among the key findings in the study:

• The Coliseum has exceeded its practical life and should be brought up to state-of-the-industry standards to be able to continue accommodating existing event activity and grow future market share. Failure to do so will result in continued erosion of market share and diminishing event, performance and attendance levels at the KCAC.

• Bringing the Coliseum up to those standards will require renovation and/or redevelopment of the facility.

• The Auditorium continues to serve the market demand for fixed-seating venue space with requirements for seating capacity in excess of the 1,600 seats available at the Tennessee Theatre.

• Consideration should be given to updating the seats, décor, food and beverage provision, back of house and other such functional measures within the Auditorium. It is anticipated that these improvements could be accomplished while largely leaving the existing Auditorium structure intact.

The study considers three alternatives: retaining the current structures with minimal upgrades; renovating and redeveloping the complex; and completely replacing the complex. Cost estimates for various options within those alternatives range from $26 million to $279.5 million. The study also estimates the direct and indirect economic benefits of each of the scenarios.