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BDC receives three proposals for Pier Six Pavilion management

Four entertainment companies — the local Rams Head Group and three of the largest concert promoters in the country — are vying to be the next manager of Baltimore's Pier Six Pavilion.

The Baltimore Development Corp. on Thursday reviewed proposals from Rams Head, AEG and a joint proposal from Live Nation and SMG for a seven-year contract to manage the Inner Harbor music venue.

In a session that was closed to the public, the board voted to recommend one of the proposals to Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake but declined to say which. The board's recommendation will become public only if it receives approval from the mayor and moves to the Board of Estimates, said Susan Yum, a BDC spokeswoman.

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The BDC in January announced plans to seek a new manager for Pier Six when its contract with current manager The Cordish Cos. expires at the end of the year.

Cordish, which first won a contract to manage the venue in 1998, did not submit a proposal. Rams Head has operated the venue for Cordish for 10 years.

The BDC is seeking a manager willing to invest in capital improvements, possibly including updates to seating and the venue's thinning tencel tent cover. The board also wants a manager with a plan to increase the number of events held at Pier Six and maximize its earning potential.

The Baltimore Development Corp. said Monday it is looking for a new company to improve and manage the Inner Harbor's Pier Six Pavilion and boost the number of shows offered at the concert venue. The city's longstanding agreement with The Cordish Cos. expires at the end of this year.

The venue seats 3,341 under its tent and can accommodate an additional 1,000 concertgoers on the lawn. It reported gross revenue of $4.9 million, including $3.2 million in ticket revenue, in 2015. Over the last five years, Pier Six hosted an average of 26 performances a year.

"The Pier Six Pavilion facility has reached a point where significant money needs to be invested in the city-owned property," said Bill Muehlhauser, Rams Head's founder and CEO, who touted the "consistently diverse concert lineup" his company has delivered.

Rams Head Group also operates Rams Head On Stage, Rams Head Roadhouse and Rams Head Tavern in Annapolis, as well as a second tavern in Savage Mills.

The two other proposals come from much larger concert promoters with a national reach.

AEG operates some of the nation's largest venues, including the Staples Center in Los Angeles, owns 14 professional sports teams and has four touring divisions that send performers on tours through AEG's venues. AEG also runs Rams Head Live in Baltimore and the Firefly Music Festival in Delaware.

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SMG operates dozens of stadiums and arenas, including the Superdome in Louisiana and Baltimore's Royal Farms Arena. Its partner, Live Nation, also has a national network of large and small venues, including the Fillmore Silver Spring, the Warner Theatre in Washington and Jiffy Lube Live in northern Virginia.

Neither AEG nor Live Nation replied to a request for comment, while SMG declined to comment.

The Pier Six contract is for seven years, beginning in 2017, with the possibility to renew for another three years.

sarah.gantz@baltsun.com

twitter.com/sarahgantz

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