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Super Bowl parties are boon for fledgling downtown venue

January 19, 2012
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Former Indianapolis Colt Gary Padjen, managing partner of The Crane Bay Event Center, is confident that the recent investment in renovating the facility will pay off almost immediately.

The operators of a fledgling event and entertainment venue two blocks west of Lucas Oil Stadium expect to more than recoup their $1.2 million investment in renovating the space by hosting high-profile parties before the Super Bowl.

The Crane Bay Event Center, headed by former Indianapolis Colt Gary Padjen, expects to spend more than $2 million total, between renovating the warehouse building and picking up its share of expenses for staging two massive events hosted by Rolling Stone magazine on Feb. 4 and 5.

The center at 551 W. Merrill St. will keep the ticket proceeds for the two high-profile events, which in the best-case scenario could approach $3 million, according to Padjen, majority partner in the business.

Padjen also is fielding requests for the space for the days leading up to the Rolling Stone parties, which will be important for the bottom line.

“We will get our money back and make some profit, if everything lines up,” Padjen said Thursday morning.



Rolling Stone is partnering with Crane Bay and two sponsors to host two star-studded events at the center Feb. 4-5.

The magazine will team with rum maker Bacardi to stage “Bacardi Bash: 150 Years Rocking the Party” beginning at 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 4. With ticket prices set at $999, the event will feature musical acts Cobra Starship, Gym Class Heroes, LMFAO and Lupe Fiasco. Capacity for partygoers is expected to be 1,200 to 1,300 people.

From 1 p.m. to 5 p.m on Sunday, Feb. 5, Rolling Stone will produce “Rock and Roll Fan Tailgate” with sponsor Volkswagen. Seminal alternative rockers Jane’s Addiction will headline with hip-hop band The Roots. An outdoor tent has been added just east of the building for the tailgate event, pushing capacity to near 3,000 people. Tickets are $500.

Crane Bay is picking up a large portion of the expenses for the Rolling Stone parties, Padjen said. Costs include hiring dozens of bartending and security personnel for both events, supplying concert lighting and other audio-visual equipment, and providing the tent for the tailgating event.

Bacardi is expected to supply $750,000 to $1 million in decorations for its event on Feb. 4, he said.

“You couldn’t have dreamed up a better way to have a grand opening,” Padjen said.

Matt Mastrangelo, publisher of Rolling Stone, declined to reveal the total budgets for the two events.

It was important to the magazine to use a local business for hosting the events, Mastrangelo said.

“We’re working with Gary to do something that will build this area around Lucas Oil Stadium,” he said. “We could have taken the option of buying out a venue, hosting an event, taking the money and going back to New York. The thing that got me excited was what I saw going on around here by Lucas Oil Stadium and the whole regentrification of the area. We wanted to be part of that.”

In November, Padjen revealed to IBJ his plans for renovating the 18,000-square-foot building and creating an entertainment venue.

It will remain in operation after the Super Bowl, hosting everything from corporate events to concerts and mixed martial arts bouts.

"We feel like we have a real jewel here that the city will be proud of for years to come," Padjen said.

 

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