venue

The Omaha Performing Arts Center announced on Sunday it will construct a $109 million music venue in downtown Omaha.

The venue plans to have a capacity for 1,500 to 3,000 people.

Fundraising is under way for the facility, and after fundraising is complete, construction will begin in 2020. The venue plans to open in 2023.

The venue will be across Dodge Street from the Holland Performing Arts Center and less than a mile from the Orpheum Theater, both of which are operated by Omaha Performing Arts.

“The venue is envisioned as a concert hall for touring bands as well as a flexible performance space for local arts organizations,” said Omaha Performing Arts President Joan Squires. “It could accommodate a standing-room crowd for a rock concert or a thrust stage and seating risers for an immersive opera performance.”

Omaha Performing Arts staff talked to other local arts organizations about what their needs would be in such a space.

“We’ve really tried to incorporate what they’ve talked to us about,” said Squires. “This is a new venue for the community. It’s for arts and entertainment.”

Caitlin Mills, CSU Programming Board’s vice president for programming, is excited for the new venue and potential it will bring to the Omaha community.

“CSU Program Board attends many Broadway plays at the Orpheum Theater, also run by Omaha Performing Arts, so it is exciting to hear their plans in building a large music venue so close to campus,” said Caitlin Mills, junior in the College of Arts and Sciences. “Due to selling all tickets to this year’s Fallapalooza concert, this music venue plans to hold double the capacity of Sokol Auditorium, where Fallapalooza is currently hosted. These plans have me excited for the Omaha community and future Fallapalooza concerts.”

The Fallapalooza concert is organized by CSU Program Board every year for all Creighton students. The new music venue could be a potential new home for the annual concert in the future.

Traditionally, Fallapalooza has a headliner and an opener. Fallapalooza will be held Nov. 22 in Sokol Auditorium this semester. In 3 1/2 hours after the announcement of the headliner this semester, 994 tickets were sold and the event capacity is 1,400 people.

The new music venue is the first phase of a planned campus expansion for Omaha Performing Arts. The second will include an education center, which will be constructed in what is now a green space east of the Holland Center.

There is not a timeline for phase two. Omaha Performing Arts’ previous plans called for expanding east of the Holland onto the property that holds three historic buildings.

Officials hope the new venue will be of a size and configuration that is appealing to touring artists.

A student believed it would attract more well-known artists to the greater Omaha area.

Sophie Birkholt, College of Arts and Sciences senior, said it would encourage young adults to engage more in arts and entertainment festivities in Omaha.

“Opening a new venue in the downtown area would encourage college students and young adults to be more engaged with the entertainment scene downtown, and it would give them something fun to do on the weekends,” Birkholt said.

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