CSO, MEMI announce $118M first-of-its-kind Music and Entertainment Venue at Coney Island Site

The region’s most experienced live music and event planners are amping up the concert and festival scene in Cincinnati with plans to build a $118 million, state-of-the art venue that they promise will be a one-of-a-kind entertainment campus destined to be a “must play” stop for the music industry’s top acts. Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra (CSO) and Music & Event Management, Inc. (MEMI) announced today that they had acquired all assets of Coney Island Inc. and will create a first-of-its-kind venue on the Greater Cincinnati site. It will feature cutting-edge performance and entertainment technology and best-in-class guest amenities at an architecturally stunning facility.

Jonathan Martin, CSO President and CEO, and Mike Smith, CEO of its wholly owned subsidiary MEMI, said the organizations are shooting for the top of the charts with the venue. They plan to create “the nation’s best amphitheater” — one that puts Cincinnati in the conversation along with top-tier cities, gives it a competitive edge in landing the music industry’s biggest acts and serves as an economic driver for the region. It will complement the existing venues on the live music campus, Riverbend and PNC Pavilion. “We are building a new home for live music events that will offer a mesmerizing fusion of cutting-edge technology and architectural significance,” Martin said. “This new development will usher in the future of the music industry, and we are proud to be leading the next step in the same way Riverbend changed the face of live music in our community 40 years ago when it opened. Now, with CSO’s historic success with Riverbend and PNC Pavilion, we are creating an expanded music, arts and entertainment campus for the region to drive artistic excellence and innovation as well as the local economy.”

The new Music and Entertainment Venue will be designed to captivate all senses, boasting a state-of-the-art sound system that will allow every note to resonate. Using an adaptable seating arrangement — including dynamic standing areas that cater to diverse concert-going preferences — it will transport fans to a new dimension of live music experiences. “It will be designed to maximize all components of live outdoor music events. We will attract a wider array of the live music industry’s most sought-after artists — as well as larger-scale shows — with a larger seating capacity, modern amenities, state-of-the-art sound systems and lighting, and first-class VIP and patron spaces,” Smith said.

Live music contributes $10 billion to the U.S. economy annually. The larger music tourism ecosystem, meanwhile, in 2022 generated $43 billion nationally in ticket sales, hotel and lodging accommodations, transportation, dining and other revenues. MEMI has welcomed 17 million music fans through the doors of its venues, including Riverbend Music Center, PNC Pavilion, Taft Theatre and Taft Ballroom, Rose Music Center at the Heights, the Andrew J Brady Music Center® and the ICON Festival Stage at Smale Park. Martin and Smith said the preliminary design is in progress for the facility, with many key decisions yet to be finalized.

“Cincinnati’s new music, arts and entertainment campus will bring us into an exciting future while acknowledging our proud history,” Smith said. “We are considering how to incorporate contemporarily appropriate and historically significant acknowledgments to the history of the location. Stay tuned.” Additional information will be released in the coming weeks and months.

Posted on Dec 14, 2023

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