Music city: Ampitheather coming to downtown Dayton

After hitting a snag, the Levitt Pavilion Dayton project is back on track with today’s announcement that a contractor has been selected to build the outdoor amphitheater.

Shook Construction, based in Dayton, will build the music venue, with construction expected to begin by early next year.

Supporters say the pavilion should open in mid-summer of next year, allowing for a partial season of music programming, likely featuring about 30 shows.

The city of Dayton twice solicited bids for the pavilion, but the submitted proposals came in well above the projected $5 million construction budget.

But the

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But the city leased the pavilion site at Dave Hall Plaza to the Dayton-Montgomery County Port Authority, which was able to negotiate lower prices with contractors, leading to an agreement that should prevent any further delays, officials said.

The Levitt Pavilion Dayton, which will offer at least 50 free concerts each year, is the centerpiece of efforts to transform the center of downtown into a thriving, urban neighborhood.

“We are excited to be moving into this next phase of the project, and closer to realizing the goal of creating and building a community asset to bring the Dayton region together one free concert at a time,” Jeff Ireland, Board chair for the Friends of Levitt Dayton.

The city issued a bid for the Levitt pavilion in July, as supporters of the project were getting close to completing a $5 million capital campaign to build the state-of-the-art music venue.

The campaign reached its goal by early August, but the city only received one bid that was nearly $2.7 million over the projected construction budget.

The city rebid the pavilion in September and received four responses, the base bids of which ranged from $5.8 million to $6.9 million.

Instead of rebidding the project a third time, the city leased the future Levitt property to the port authority, which as a quasi-governmental agency has more freedom to negotiate prices, said Dayton City Manager Shelley Dickstein.

Another round of solicitations could have delayed the project further, hurting next year’s concert season, Dickstein said.