A rendering of the Buddy Holly Hall of Performing Arts and Sciences, scheduled for completion in 2019.

Texas’ Lubbock Entertainment and Performing Arts Association (LEPAA) has signed SMG, based in Conshohocken, Pa., as operator of the city’s Buddy Holly Hall of Performing Arts and Sciences.

Scheduled for completion in the first quarter of 2019, the performing arts center will include a 2,200-seat multipurpose main theater, 425-capacity smaller theater and divisible flat-floor multipurpose room.

SMG will operate, schedule and book performances, program special events, and manage all aspects of Buddy Holly Hall’s day-to-day operations. The contract consists of a five-year initial term, with an option to renew for another five years.

“SMG will manage the building for a fee,” said Greg Garfield, president of Dallas-based Garfield Public/Private LLC, developer of the venue.

Although the total cost of the project and financial terms of SMG’s contract have not been disclosed, construction is being 100 percent financed through privately-funded donations and naming rights. When it was first launched, it was reported that the PAC’s price tag would be $85 million. The venue’s operations are expected to add more than $3.5 million to Lubbock’s annual sales tax revenue and will create 36 new jobs.

Of the 230 facilities SMG manages, 62 are performing arts centers and theaters. This includes the nearby Midland, Texas Wagner Noël Performing Arts Center.

“Garfield Public/Private helped us lay out a strategic plan for the project, recommending that we use a professional venue operator,” said Rob Allison, LEPAA’s executive director. “It was important to bring them on board early in the process.”

The Request for Proposals process kicked off about a year ago, with a total of four venue operators involved in the process.

“SMG has the marketing, programing and booking resources as well as a regional presence that is important to route artists and touring shows from California, Arizona and New Mexico through Texas,” said Garfield. “The company also has demonstrated with its other performing arts properties that it can balance the needs of touring commercial products with resident arts groups.”

In addition to hosting Broadway shows and concerts, Buddy Holly Hall will be home to Ballet Lubbock and the Lubbock Symphony Orchestra. The theater also will be used by the Lubbock Independent School District’s fine arts program and for the University Interscholastic League’s performances and competitions.

“SMG recently met with our design and development team for three days, kicking off the design development phase of the project,” said Allison. “It was the first face-to-face meeting with the Board.”

In addition to Garfield Public/Private, the team includes Lubbock’s Parkhill, Smith, & Cooper, Hugo Reed & Associates, Lee Lewis Construction and MWM Architects; Diamond Schmitt Architects, Toronto, Canada; Jaffe Holden Acoustics, Norwalk, Conn.; and Schuler Shook, Chicago.

“We worked with the architects to review the design plans in detail and offered insight from our experience as operators,” said Bob Papke, SMG vice president of Live Entertainment – Theaters. “We’re looking at the project from a use and patron traffic standpoint in terms of using the lobbies, restrooms, concession areas and backstage.”

The design phase is expected to last about 10 more months, with another 30 months of construction prior to completion.

Interviewed for this story:  Rob Allison, (806) 747-3200; Greg Garfield, (469) 607-1701; Bob Papke, (610) 729-7900