Civic Auditorium will close in 2014 - Omaha.com
Published Saturday, November 3, 2012 at 12:01 am / Updated at 10:59 am
Civic Auditorium will close in 2014

The show is almost over for Omaha's Civic Auditorium.

Mayor Jim Suttle's office said Friday that the auditorium would shut down in 2014.

A specific date for the closing wasn't set, but the goal is to close by summer of that year, said officials with the Metropolitan Entertainment and Convention Authority.

The closing of the aging 9,300-seat arena, Music Hall and convention hall follows years of studies and debates over the building's future.

Over the past decade, the Civic tried to keep up with the rise of the CenturyLink Center Omaha and Council Bluffs' Mid-America Center.

But the auditorium's physical condition has suffered, its finances have fallen into the red, and it has lost key tenants to the new Ralston Arena.

Suttle spokeswoman Aida Amoura said the closing was always planned after the City Council rejected one final study to examine the prospect of demolishing the auditorium while leaving the Music Hall in place.

City officials are still searching for developers interested in razing the building and redeveloping the entire property, Amoura said.

A 2011 study suggested that the 2,315-seat Music Hall could be spared, but the study made no estimates on how much that could cost.

Suttle asked the council in May to approve a three-month study. The $50,000 price tag didn't sit well with the five council members who voted the idea down.

That put plans for the 58-year-old Civic back at square one, the mayor has said, but did nothing to address the building's lost anchor tenants and a potential $29 million bill for basic upkeep.

Contact the writer: 402-444-1068, johnny.perez@owh.com, twitter.com/PerezJr

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