MOBILE, Ala. (WPMI) Mayor Sam Jones is expected to announce changes Friday to management at the historic Saenger Theatre in Downtown Mobile.
At a press conference Friday afternoon, sources told Local 15 News Mayor Jones is expected to announce an interim manager for the Saenger, while the city searches for a permanent management company.
The Saenger Theater, which has been the performing arts mainstay in Mobile since the 1920's, has been run by the Center for the Living Arts for years.
Robert Sain with the Center for the Living Arts told Local 15 News in September 2012 that the city-owned theatre has been losing money for the past ten years.
Downtown Mobile Alliance Spokesperson Carol Hunter said while millions of dollars have been poured into renovating the Saenger to welcome the nation's biggest acts, the seats are hardly filled.
"I think that's been a problem is that it hasn't been as busy as it needs to be," Hunter said. "What we need is someone to aggressively market the Saenger, and to recruit to try to book as many acts as we can that will appeal to the market here."
Sources told Local 15 News the shortlist of potential management companies include SMG, mangers of the Mobile Civic Center and the Arthur R. Outlaw Convention Center, Retirement Systems of Alabama and the New Orleans-based Huka Entertainment. Huka Entertainment is the management company in charge of The Hangout Music Festival in Gulf Shores.
"I'm very optimistic," Heroes Sports Bar & Grill Owner David Rasp said. "I think that any scenario we choose moving forward can result in a more active schedule over there, which is an economic engine for Downtown Mobile."
Mayor Sam Jones is expected to make the announcement at 1 p.m. Friday at the Saenger Theatre.