It’s Official: Live Nation Plans Music Venue in Southeast Portland

“Just through talking to folks in the industry, we’ve been hearing for at least the last decade that a ballroom-style venue in this size represents a bit of a missing middle for venues in Portland.”

Live Nation, the huge events promotion company, will be the future operator of a live music venue in inner Southeast Portland.

That connection was confirmed to WW today by Leonard Barrett, the principal of Beam Development, the developer of the proposed venue. He says Live Nation is slated to be the operator of the venue once it’s built, which he says is likely a few years down the road.

Barrett says the 3,000-capacity venue will fill a current hole in the Portland music scene.

“Just through talking to folks in the industry, we’ve been hearing for at least the last decade that a ballroom-style venue in this size represents a bit of a missing middle for venues in Portland,” Barrett says. “You’ve got the Schnitzer and the Keller of this size, but obviously they’re fixed seating.”

He says a venue is needed for “higher-energy shows or where people want to dance.”

The mention of Live Nation raises hairs on the necks of local music industry players and venue operators.

As WW reported over the weekend, Live Nation dominates the national market for tour contracts with major artists, which means in cities where it operates a venue, its artists play there. That weakens the pool of artists other venues in town can attract.

Live Nation has the deep pockets to far outbid independent venues, giving the company the ability to snag coveted artists. The company has been accused of violating anti-trust laws, and earlier this year a number of federal lawmakers urged the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate its practices.

Barrett says a third party connected him to a top executive at Live Nation, which spurred discussions of a venue.

“We’ve looked at venue projects in the past over the years with other operators including some local operators, and we just weren’t able to make prior projects come together,” Barrett says. “Live Nation is the operator that we’re exploring this project with.”

This is the third time Live Nation has eyed Portland for a venue. A development in 2017 and then a development in 2020 both fell through. Beam Development was not involved in either of those projects.

Live Nation executives and spokespeople have not responded to repeated requests from WW about the planned venue.

Beam Development recently completed its preliminary meeting with Portland city bureaus, which offered feedback on the requirements of the development. “There’s a lengthy process ahead of us,” Barrett says.