CCE Bows Out Of Durham PAC Consideration

(CelebrityAccess Media Wire) — Clear Channel Entertainment, the preferred operator for a proposed performing arts center in downtown Durham, NC, has pulled its name from consideration.

CCE said it withdrew its name because the company is redefining its "strategic plan" and "can't commit to a project like this under the conditions the City of Durham proposes," the Herald-Sun reports, according to a letter sent to the city's director of economic development, Alan DeLisle.

"My sense is that unless we are able to find someone to basically assume the risk that we've been asking Clear Channel to assume in that deal, then it's highly unlikely that we will be able to make that project work," Mayor Bill Bell said in the paper.

Plans for the theater have changed, too. Originally planned as a 4,000-seat venue costing about $42 million, it has now been scaled back to 2,800 seats, at a cost of $30 million. Taxpayer dollars would cover the costs. The local arts community has also been highly critical of Clear Channel's involvement, arguing that the company monopolizes the music industry.

The city also has a fall 2005 deadline to break ground on the proposed theater in order to raise its hotel-motel tax to help fund the project.

According to Bell, there has been interested from other companies, including House of Blues, but he stresses that in order to make this project work, the operator, whoever it is, must be willing to take on the financial risk. — Jane Cohen and Bob Grossweiner

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