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Promoter plans new 1,000-seat arena on Bay St.

  • This digital rendering shows Savannah’s newest entertainment venue, The Stage on Bay. The facility, located at 1200 West Bay St., will open in early 2017. (Photo special to the Savannah Morning News )
  • Charlie Schmitt, CEO of the Savannah Music Depot, talks about The Stage on Bay, an all ages entertainment venue that will open in early 2017 at 1200 West Bay St. (Katie Nussbaum/Savannah Morning News)

A new downtown concert venue will soon be welcoming well known acts in music and entertainment plus about 1,000 attendees when it opens its doors in February.

The Stage on Bay at 1200 West Bay St., a 12,000 square-foot building was once home to Grainger Supply, but Charlie Schmitt, CEO of Savannah Music Depot, LLC, is preparing to turn the facility into an all ages entertainment venue.

“It’s one of those things that’s almost by accident and the light just goes off,” he said.

Schmitt, a Jacksonville-based entertainment and business attorney, travels to Savannah multiple times a year to visit his wife’s family and is a partner in a similar entertainment venue in New York, which spurred the idea and opening of The Stage on Bay.

“It finally dawned on me that there’s no venue like what we have in New York in Savannah and there’s nothing like it two hours any direction,” he said.

The Stage is slated to open in February and will be open to all ages; those under 18 will be required to be accompanied by a parent or guardian and wristbands and extra security methods will ensure everyone is safe and has a good time, Schmitt said.

The facility is essentially an open warehouse, but can provide arena-style shows in the intimacy of a theater or club type setting, according to Schmitt. It features 28-foot-high ceilings, loading docks for unloading equipment and buses and a 50-foot bar.

“We really like that because it’s a blank canvas… Different shows have different types of audiences,” he said of the space.

Depending on the performance the facility can provide reserved seating, general admission or attendees can view the show from a private upstairs mezzanine area that can accommodate 120 guests. In any instance attendees are never more than 75 feet away from the stage.

“There’s waitress service, couches and high top tables and private bathrooms, so you can go upstairs and never have to come down. You’re 14 feet above the crowd and 75 feet away looking straight at the artist,” he said of the private mezzanine.

“Or if you want to come in an experience the club, general admission vibe, we’ve got that too… We thought it was important to have that modular flexibility.”

Schmitt, who also has a home in Savannah, has held executive positions with the National Football League, National Hockey League and also founded The Voices of Classic Rock, a live ensemble that has performed more than 150 concerts around the world, featuring original lead singers from Starship and Loverboy along with John Cafferty.

The grand opening show on Feb. 3 is scheduled to feature the iconic southern group, The Marshall Tucker Band with special guests The Steppin’ Stones.

“At our other club we had done The Marshall Tucker Band and it’s just a phenomenal show and as I looked at the Savannah market and thought what better act to open this type of venue than The Marshall Tucker Band,” he said.

“In the 1990s they charted on the rock, country and gospel charts, so that’s what we want to embody, all genres.”

He said other acts scheduled later in the year include, Corey Smith, Puddle of Mud, Sister Hazel and watermelon smashing prop-comic Gallagher.

“We think there’s a pretty good market in Savannah for national-known comedy,” he said.

Tickets for the shows are available through Ticket Fly and Schmitt said he’s working to establish relationships with other Ticket Fly venues in Charleston, Augusta and Jacksonville. The facility will also be available for rental for private parties, corporate meetings and other events.

“We think there’s a comedy market and I’d really like to establish a classic rock market, if possible and we’ve got some big country announcements coming up,” he said.

“The key is we want to be all genres… It’s a live performance venue and we want something for everybody.”

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For more information or ticket information, go to www.savconcerts.com. 

 

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