In all likelihood, the owners of 331 Club in Minneapolis and Amsterdam Bar & Hall in St. Paul are taking on a new venue next year -- if the St. Paul City Council approves the deal. Update: In a previous version of this post, we said "The discordant strains of Marijuana Deathsquads could be booming over Como Lake next summer." Turns out it'll be different, but not quite that different.
A group called Como Dockside -- which includes Jon and Jarrett Oulman and Josh Mandelman -- have reached a tentative agreement with the city to renovate, operate, and manage the Como Lakeside Pavilion starting in spring 2015.
"Heavy-hitting rock stuff is probably not going to be an activity," Jarrett tells Gimme Noise. "It's going to incorporate the components that were successful with the Music in the Park series, and we're going to supplement it with appropriate, yet interesting, programming for a park setting with a dense surrounding community around Como Lake."[jump]
Located at the Como Park Zoo and Conservatory, the site features a 16,000 square foot open-air, covered venue that can host an audience of up to 800 seated and 1300 standing. In past years, a traditionally packed music schedule has spanned each May to September. A requirement of this new deal would be that the lakeside performance area would be upgraded and host at least 100 events each year.
"The venue is pretty spectacular in the shell of what it is," Jarrett says. "Its biggest need would be sound and acoustic treatment because the surfaces of the roof and floor are hard, which creates a bounce. We could add outdoor curtains in front of the openings out to the lake. Another thing we will do, gradually, is ticketed events."
The Pavilion has hosted St. Paul's free Music in the Parks series, which has primarily focused on big bands, orchestras, and musicals. Given the 331 and Amsterdam's tight ties to Twin Cities rock musicians -- manifesting on a weekly basis and also extremely during Art-A-Whirl -- a series of shows not unlike the Lake Harriet Bandshell's summer offerings, at the right volume, wouldn't be a stretch.
Other amenities on the site include a restaurant, catering, hiking trails, and the makings for an outdoor wedding that's totally blush-worthy. Expect bocce courts, kayaks, a farmers market, concessions, and barbecues, according to a St. Paul Pioneer Press report.
The Saint Paul Parks and Recreation Commission will review the proposal on Wednesday, December 10, and the City Council will vote on Wednesday December 17.
If everything is approved, Como Dockside could begin renovations in January, have a grand opening in May, and start taking bookings for 2015. The contract, which could earn the city of St. Paul $1 million over five years, expires at the end of October 2020.
"It's really exciting for us as an organization," Jarrett says. "It's great to work with parks in a setting like this and provide a new dynamic for St. Paul entertainment."
GIMME NOISE'S GREATEST HITS