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Super Bowl parties are boon for fledgling downtown venue

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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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  1. to mention the rest of Molly's experience- she served as Communications Director for the Indianapolis Department of Public Works and also did communications for the state. She's incredibly qualified for this role and has a real love for Indianapolis and Indiana. Best of luck to her!

  2. Shall we not demand the same scrutiny for law schools, med schools, heaven forbid, business schools, etc.? How many law school grads are servers? How many business start ups fail and how many business grads get low paying jobs because there are so few high paying positions available? Why does our legislature continue to demean public schools and give taxpayer dollars to charters and private schools, ($171 million last year), rather than investing in our community schools? We are on a course of disaster regarding our public school attitudes unless we change our thinking in a short time.

  3. I agree with the other reader's comment about the chunky tomato soup. I found myself wanting a breadstick to dip into it. It tasted more like a marinara sauce; I couldn't eat it as a soup. In general, I liked the place... but doubt that I'll frequent it once the novelty wears off.

  4. The Indiana toll road used to have some of the cleanest bathrooms you could find on the road. After the lease they went downhill quickly. While not the grossest you'll see, they hover a bit below average. Am not sure if this is indicative of the entire deal or merely a portion of it. But the goals of anyone taking over the lease will always be at odds. The fewer repairs they make, the more money they earn since they have a virtual monopoly on travel from Cleveland to Chicago. So they only comply to satisfy the rules. It's hard to hand public works over to private enterprise. The incentives are misaligned. In true competition, you'd have multiple roads, each build by different companies motivated to make theirs more attractive. Working to attract customers is very different than working to maximize profit on people who have no choice but to choose your road. Of course, we all know two roads would be even more ridiculous.

  5. The State is in a perfect position. The consortium overpaid for leasing the toll road. Good for the State. The money they paid is being used across the State to upgrade roads and bridges and employ people at at time most of the country is scrambling to fund basic repairs. Good for the State. Indiana taxpayers are no longer subsidizing the toll roads to the tune of millions a year as we had for the last 20 years because the legislature did not have the guts to raise tolls. Good for the State. If the consortium fails, they either find another operator, acceptable to the State, to buy them out or the road gets turned back over to the State and we keep the Billions. Good for the State. Pat Bauer is no longer the Majority or Minority Leader of the House. Good for the State. Anyway you look at this, the State received billions of dollars for an assett the taxpayers were subsidizing, the State does not have to pay to maintain the road for 70 years. I am having trouble seeing the downside.

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