The Newberry partners announce plans for event center; concerts to start in October

In the works for some time now, the partners behind the new event center coming to Central Avenue are formally announcing their project on April 6.

The Newberry, at 420 Central Ave., is currently under construction and the owners plan to open in September with their first concerts in October.

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Those concerts will be released in early summer, according to Scott Reasoner, one of the partners.

The Newberry is taking up the majority of the space that once housed the J.J. Newberry five and dime store. Several years ago, the property owners split the large building to make space for the event center and what is now Central Avenue Meats.

The partners, Reasoner, general manager and president of the Great Falls Voyagers; Tim Peterson, president of LPW Architecture; Andy Ferrin of Ferrin’s Furniture; Seth Swingley of the Mighty Mo Brew Pub; and Keith Schneider of Payne West Insurance are the partners. Reasoner, Peterson and Ferrin are also partners in Enbar and The Block, and they along with Swingley are partners in the Downtown Summer Jam series and July 4 Hootenanny.

“We could not be more excited for what The Newberry means for downtown. Downtown Great Falls is a place we believe is the heart of our city and has seen tremendous growth the last decade from individuals taking huge risks to make our community a better place. We hope The Newberry will become the entertainment center for downtown and give anyone that has not experienced downtown Great Falls a reason to do so,” Reasoner told The Electric.

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The Newberry partners plan to promote nearly 100 tickets events at the venue during their first year, giving them control of pricing, foot traffic and atmosphere of the event space. They also plan to keep the average cost of talent for each show around $4,000 to avoid high risk concerts since they better understand the market and ticket pricing for events that size, according to their application to the city for Tax Increment Financing funds.

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That also allows them to keep ticket revenue and control fees, but they’d “consider allowing outside promoted shows for the right artist and agreement, but are budgeting to promote every show in house,” which is similar to other venues this size in Montana, according to their application. They’ll also work with other similar venues in the state on routing and events to bring costs down.

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The partners also plan to host non-profit events, fundraisers and concerts, as well as private events such as weddings and corporate luncheons.

Community members can also get more involved with the venue through The Newberry Sound Association, which includes discounts, sneak peeks, meet and greets and early access to tickets. For more information about the association, email events@thenewberrymt.net.

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The developers have requested $171,200 of tax increment financing funds from the city for the renovation projects.

They submitted an application for downtown TIF funds to offset costs for curb and sidewalk repair, fire suppression installation, structural repair, roof repair and ADA compliance.

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City staff is recommending that City Commissioners approve up to $9,100 specifically for reconstruction of the sidewalk, curb and construction of temporary sidewalk.

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The Downtown Development Partnership is the reviewing body for requests to the downtown TIF and during their March 24 meeting, they voted to recommend that the City Commission approve the entire request.

The request is scheduled to go to the commission for first reading on April 20 and a public hearing on May 4.