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Times Union Center Presses On

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WAMC photo by Dave Lucas
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Bob Belber

Despite the abrupt cancelation of Friday night's celebration at the Times Union Center, officials say the downtown Albany venue is doing well financially.

The Times Union Center had to pull the plug on Friday's grand reopening, which had on the bill James Taylor, John Legend, Jim Belushi and Capital Region native and NBC’s The Voice contestant Moriah Formica.

Organizers apologized for any inconvenience. The TU Center attributed the cancelation to unforeseen circumstances involving promoter Metropolitan Entertainment, in some reports claiming the company couldn’t pay the venue’s deposit. WAMC could not reach Times Union Center general manager Bob Belber for comment, but he told WNYT:  “It's not rare for a show to cancel. It's rare for a show to cancel due to promoter default so from that standpoint we're disappointed that it came down the way it did."

However, Metropolitan Entertainment President John Scher is quoted in a company statement, saying in part: “In fact, the venue was a full partner on this event and the show was canceled without our input."

The center’s website said refunds will be offered at point of purchase only, while internet and phone orders will be automatically canceled and refunded.

A portion of the proceeds were to be donated to the Pediatric Emergency Department at Albany Medical Center. Taylor and his wife, Albany native Kim Taylor, donated $10,000 to Albany Med for the facility's new Pediatric Emergency Department, scheduled to open this summer.  Albany Med announced the donation Monday on its Twitter account.

New numbers cited by the Times Union indicate the TU Center is operating in the black with more than 535,000 people having attended 114 events there last year, even as the nearly 30-year-old arena was in the midst of renovations. But the Albany Devils left town and a new arena football team hasn’t started playing yet.  Albany County Executive Dan McCoy:    "Obviously our arena needed a facelift to bring better acts in, to give people that nice experience when they walk into the arena. To feel that even before they get into the show, it kinda started already, where they can come down early and  have a place to really hang out and people watch and just enjoy themselves. Uh, really it's gonna play, I believe, into 2018, making even better profit than we did in 2017. In 2017 our profit was like $1.3 (million), up from over $900,000 in 2016, so we're going in the right direction, in tying into the Capital Center and now the Convention Center and Egg. I believe this is gonna be a destination stop for a lotta people for a lot of great shows, to come down, to enjoy the atmosphere in downtown Albany, and really just enjoy the Capital Center and the Atrium and all the improvements we made together."

The MAAC basketball tournament and the women’s NCAA regionals are scheduled for March.

Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.
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